Games to launch on Steam created by UCCS game development majors

During past semesters, the Game Development class has released one online game created by students over the course of the class. This semester, they are releasing two. 

One class team will be be release “Byte Hack,” while the other will release “Shatter Bound”, both set for early May 2024 on the gaming engine Steam. The next user testing sessions, when any member of the community can come try out the games, will be at 11:30 a.m. on March 7 and 11:30 a.m. on April 4 in Anshutz 104. 

According to class developer Dillon Hutchinson, “Byte Hack” is a 2-D puzzle platform inspired by retro ‘80s platform games like Super Mario Bros. The goal of the game is to of change the environment while the game seemingly ‘breaks.’ Players experience difficult jumps and can discover hidden lore.  

“We mainly focus on our humor [in the game]. It’s meant to be a light-hearted, fun game with a little bit of challenge to it,” says Hutchinson. 

Luke Hrovat, who worked on “Shatter Bound,” said it is a puzzle platform game with the challenge of setting up future events for yourself each run. Choices players make in each round affect the next round. 

“You are your own obstacle and solution,” says Hrovat.  

Hutchinson and Hrovat, both juniors working towards a bachelor’s in innovation for game development, have nothing but pride for their teams as their game development comes to completion. 

“We really put a lot of time and effort into it and we really want this to be a fun experience and something that we can be proud of, but also that the school can be proud of,” says Hutchinson. 

Hutchinson and Hrovat recommend the user testing sessions so they can learn how to improve the games. “The more people we can get to user test, the better. Because that means more data for us to collect,” says Hutchinson. 

Hravot says the teams like having users come back to user test in order to track their growth. “Will they like it better than before, or did we regress?” he said.  

These creative teams have worked their way up through the game design development courses, which first walks students through basic coding and delves into real game design by the end.  

“In the industry, you don’t need many game designers, but there’s a lot of people who want to [design games],” says Hrovat, “It is designed to fit into a very competitive field of everyone wanting to go into this very niche category.” 

The classes are built to simulate the experience of a professional game design studio and help students prepare to enter a competitive field. Team members create a working game and can add it to their portfolio – which is extremely important while  seeking a job. 

Those in the game design path work in small teams that simulate a real experience. They follow the agile methodology, a framework to break a big project into small phases and tasks that eventually make up the bigger picture. This is centered around team focused work, and everybody trying to do their little part. 

“We have to learn communication skills,” says Evan Schilling, a member of team Byte-Hack. “We have to know when to ask each other things.” 

The game design teams research the commercial viability of their games, and when they choose their idea they work to create a fully playable game to release on Steam. 

As the games are still being completed, the teams are providing new information on the game design social media. Both teams said they look forward to sharing their projects with the online gaming community.

The start game page for “Byte Hack”, which is set to release in May. Photo by Megan Moen.