By Genaro Robles
Braden Luancing, senior, is creating “Kutztown University: The Game,” which simulates life as a KU student. Luancing ultimately hopes to get the game published through the university.
“I wanted to create the game as a way to showcase what the computer science department was all about,” said Luancing. “I wanted to show the quality of a Kutztown education and what the students are capable of.”
The idea for the game came to Luancing in October of 2016 during the fall STEM open house. The mathematics department table had an intricate setup, whereas the computer science department had simple poster board. Luancing wanted a better way to showcase what the Computer Science department was all about.
“Kutztown University: The Game” aims to be an innovative and educational virtual tour in the form of a mobile game. The game will be a 1:1 explorable recreation of the KU campus and will feature virtual tour guides to educate players. It is entirely student designed and implemented targeting prospective students as well as current students.
Luancing worked alongside professors in the computer science and information technology department who have seen the game develop over time. This includes the department chair.
“This game was a wonderful opportunity for Braden and all the students involved in the development. It will allow KU to lead the way in recruiting as prospective students are able to explore KU while having fun,” stated CSIT Chair Lisa Frye.
“‘KU: The Game’ provides an interactive, fun and engaging application that meets prospective students where and how they learn via a 3D mobile app,” said CSIT professor Donna DeMarco, who watched the game develop from a 2D PC version to a 3D version and now, the proposed mobile app. He adds, “It is an innovative approach that solves a real problem here at KU: attracting and retaining students.”
The game, however, is not yet complete. According to Luancing, at least two 3D model artists are needed for a reasonable development timeline to work because the bulk of the remaining work is 3D art assets. One to two user interface (UI) artists would be needed to rework and refresh existing UI and add flair to the user experience. One audio engineer would be needed to add original sounds and music, and one to two additional programmers and designers to assist with porting to other platforms and development on the campus buildings and scenery.
The game aims to be an invaluable tool for both prospective and current students. It will provide prospective students with an effective virtual tour and proof of KU’s quality education. It will give current students cross-department collaboration and an opportunity to learn new skills.
“Kutztown University: The Game” will also provide the university with a real example of “Here, You Roar.”
“This can be done real fast,” said Luancing. “I estimated that if we had eight artists working on 3D models at nine hours a week from now until the end of the year, we could finish the entire project by the start of Spring of 2020.”