Visitors at the 2023 GDIAC showcase play new student games.

Come out and play: Game design showcase is May 18

Gamers of all ages are invited to try out 22 new video games designed by Cornell students at the Game Design Initiative at Cornell (GDIAC) showcase, from 1-4 p.m. on May 18 in Clark Atrium in the Physical Sciences Building.

The free event features PC and mobile games designed by students in the CIS 3152 (Intro to Game Development) and CIS 4152 (Advanced Game Development) courses, as well as an independent study project. Attendees can vote for their favorite games, which will receive awards at the conclusion of the showcase.

“Last year’s intro class had the best games in a decade,” said Walker White, M.S. ’98, Ph.D. ’00, senior lecturer, Stephen H. Weiss Provost’s Teaching Fellow and GDIAC director in the Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science. “Many of the students continued, and so there is a really strong group of games in the advanced class.”

This year, the advanced students had the opportunity to design a game for the Steam Deck, a handheld gaming computer designed by Valve, which can also be connected to a TV or monitor and used like a home video game console. Two teams accepted the challenge, and one created Heaven’s Devils, an action game in which the player is a hellhound that uses a range of powers to defend the gates of heaven from hordes of demons.

An exciting desktop game is Le Petite Raccoon, in which a raccoon chef must steal ingredients and then cook food for growing numbers of diners. The two sides of the game make it more fun play – and more challenging to design, Walker said.

Gamers interested in mobile games can test out Animal Spies, a one-on-one multiplayer game in which players are animals trying to outwit each other. Each player sets up a series of traps around their home base – from banana peels to boulders to jars of bees – then races through the other player’s booby-trapped base to find their spy secrets.

“We set off on a pretty ambitious project, so we’re happy we could bring it across the finish line,” said Ben Neuwirth ’25, a computer science major in the College of Arts and Sciences and lead programmer on the project. “We’ve ended up with a really fun multiplayer game that feels unlike anything else.”

Many of the games will be available online after the showcase, but people are encouraged to attend in person.

“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Neuwirth said. “People who come should be in for a treat.”

More information about the games available at the showcase can be found here.  

Patricia Waldron is a writer for the Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science.

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