Since 2017, the Annual UTS Student Games Showcase has put students’ game design projects in the spotlight at the end of every Autumn session. With attendance numbers growing each year, it has become one of the most popular events within the local gaming community.
The showcases have created a successful platform for:
- connecting students with employers resulting in various internships and job opportunities
- demonstrating the game development capabilities of 2nd- and 3rd-year students to industry
- connecting students from all year levels and building a sense of community
Memorable projects from past showcases
- 2017 – In the early stages of VR accessibility, a group created an engaging game using VR technology, which was very technically advanced for its time.
- 2018 – Students from the Game Design Studio 1 class created a commercially quality game that attracted the attention of an international game development company. The students were invited to talk about their project at the company’s monthly meet-up.
- 2019 – A student built a VR game that allowed people to experience what is like to suffer from social anxiety and increase awareness. This was devised using his own experiences.
- 2020 – A group took their semester project to the next level by turning their game into a commercial product and released it on Steam.
The pandemic impact
The impacts of the pandemic have disrupted many collaborative events over the past two years. It also instigated creative new ways of doing things for senior lecturers Jaime Garcia and William Raffe, who have been running the showcases since 2017. Jaime explains how these events adjusted to being fully remote.
In light of not being able to organise our usual large in-person showcase, we instead built a dedicated website to acknowledge the efforts of our students and show off the best work of these teaching sessions. For the first time ever, we made these games publicly available for people to download and play from the comfort of their own home.
Introducing the UTS Tech Festival
Sam Ferguson ran the original showcase – the FEIT Prototype Exhibition – in 2016. He also came up with the idea to ‘level up’ to a two-week UTS Tech Festival for 2022. The successful running of the subsequent showcases and development of the Tech Festival has been a collaboration between Jaime Garcia, William Raffe, Nabin Sharma and Wade Marynowsky, along with the organisational talents of Jason Do and Sarah Rodriguez.
Jaime Garcia discusses the evolution further:
In the past we also ran the FEIT Prototype Exhibition, a faculty-wide event that aimed at showcasing the best student prototypes from the entire faculty. This gave us a more wholistic view of what could be achieved if we engage with more subject coordinators and more students. In 2021, I put my hand up for a new role in the Student Engagement team at FEIT. In casual discussion with the Director of this team, we came up with the idea of unifying all the showcases in the faculty into a single week.
This also created an opportunity to organise extracurricular teaching and learning activities where students would work closely with industry representatives and work on real-life challenges. Students are encouraged to develop creative solutions in a low-pressure context and build up skills outside of the classroom.
Ready player one
Inspired to check out what has been designed and what’s in development? The annual UTS Autumn Student Games Showcase is back on campus, on the afternoon of Wednesday, June 29th. Book here for the showcase and browse the UTS Tech Festival program for the full range of gaming events running from 20 June to 1 July.
Feature image taken from Outside the Box by Toy Box Games