SGX has gone virtual! Despite the spread of COVID-19 and the closing of the University of Wisconsin-Stout campus, the annual Stout Game Expo is continuing as scheduled. In order to accommodate students and game designers alike, SGX has been moved on to an online platform where games will be showcased and playable straight from home. Seniors in the Game Development and Design class this year are eager to show the fruits of their labor by presenting the videogames they have been working on all year.
One team seems especially eager to showcase their game “Pestilence,” and that would be the team known as Third Eye. The game was in beta when the team was interviewed in a previous article. But now, through the difficult times of online classes and lack of in-person debriefs, “Pestilence” seems to be shaping up into a game to watch out for. Joseph Matzelle, lead team director of Third Eye, comments on how working on the game from home has had both its positives and negatives. “Some things are better working from home, and some things are worse. It is a net loss, but the advantages are nice: using Discord to share our screens lets us collaborate easier when we need a second or third pair of eyes. I miss Stout, but we will survive.” Matzelle says. Nate Apolloni, one of the artists of Third Eye, says, “Working remotely has been a unique challenge, as I tend to think of working on the game as a professional job, so not being in the workplace has put me off in a big way. However, as time has gone on, my willingness to work and drive has simply grown, though being in contact with the team has been a large part of that. SGX is being held online, however I still plan on downloading all of the games possible to play with friends and family at home, giving myself a tiny version of SGX.” The game itself features Allos, the main character and deity of the world, as the player runs around level by level encountering monsters and bosses alike.
SGX will also be featuring a variation of projects from this semester’s GDD-100 class as downloadable print off games. Taylor Kinsella, a student in the GDD-100 class, had this to say, “In GDD-100, our final project was originally going to be a board game made by a group of around four students, but because we had to shift to online classes, our project was changed to an individual print-and-play game. We all get the option of whether we want to have our games featured at the virtual SGX event. Though I’m skeptical of how my final product will be, I still want my game to be available to more people, hopefully getting some good feedback as well.”
The SGX website will be open to the public on May 15, giving gamers a much-needed break after a week of finals. The landing page for players will be on the SGX page on the UW—Stout site when all the games are posted. For the bigger games, release trailers and Let’s Play videos will accompany the games as a preview of what’s in store for the players.
So, mark your calendars and get ready for SGX Online!