Students design, present game at international conference
October 31, 2014
Interaction was the keyword for
two UW-Stout students who presented at the Computer-Human Interaction in Play —
CHI PLAY — Conference in October in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Michael Flaherty, of McFarland,
and Ian Pommer, of Stillwater, Minn., entered their game, the Trial of Galileo,
in a conference contest and discussed their work with conference attendees. Their
research paper on the project also was published in the official conference
They are majoring in game design
Although the game didn't win the
contest, Assistant Professor Brent Dingle thought his undergraduate students'
work compared well with that of other students, who mostly were graduate
Simply having their research and
game accepted for presentation was a significant accomplishment, Dingle said.
"This achievement demonstrates
the quality and caliber of students at UW-Stout. It also shows the game design
and development program is more than just games. It teaches the students how to
do research, conduct business and work successfully as a team of individuals
from different fields of interest and specialization," Dingle said.
"They continue to prove the
skills and abilities of UW-Stout students are competitive at not just the
national level but the international level.
The game was designed in 2013 by
Flaherty and Pommer along with Alicia Griesbach, of Beaver Dam; John Leitner,
of Oxford; Bryant Seiler, of La Crosse ; and Dylan Tepp, of Milwaukee.
Faculty members Jean Haefner and
Ken Patterson also assisted.
found that the human interaction aspect of the conference was the most
valuable. "There was a wide range of talks and presentations,
some with seemingly opposite arguments even, and it was interesting to
hear.The student competition was the best part — seeing what other schools are
working on," Pommer said.
The purpose of the Trial of
Galileo isn't commercial but to help those who play it better understand motion
graphs through games. "This is an excellent example of the diversity and
quality of skills the game design and development students possess. They have
taken their understanding of math and science and created an educational game
that is fun and enjoyable to play," Dingle said.
The students' paper examines the
educational aspects of computer game interfaces and how to create such a game,
main character in the game is not controlled by a joystick or control pad but
by creating a motion graph. The motion graph represents the desired position,
velocity or acceleration of the player's character over time. The graph must be
fashioned to move the character through various puzzle environments. Through
trial and error the player may achieve a better understanding of what motion
graphs depict in the real world, the students' research abstract said.
Creating the game required programming
and art skills. UW-Stout's game design and development program offers computer
science and art concentrations.
"How people interface with games
is, or can be, important to education and such opportunities should not be
overlooked," Dingle said.
Pommer, left, and Michael Flaherty discuss their research and game at a conference
in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.