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Majors & Degrees

Game Design student advances from board games to coding games

April 30, 2024

Jacob Hoge, a junior Game Design major from Lincoln, Neb., received the best game award for a fall semester project.

“I’ve always been really into games and enjoyed learning about what goes into them,” Hoge said.

He also loves creative arts and made a few basic board games before learning to code. “I started off just learning on my own using tutorials,” he explained.  

This led him to look for a school with a game design program in the Midwest.

“After coming here for a visit and talking with Peter Britton, one of the main game design professors, I felt this program was very dedicated to building your knowledge as a game designer,” he said.

The project and processes class has been one of Hogue’s favorite classes so far. It requires students to work together in teams throughout an entire school year creating a game.

“I feel like that has given me a lot of experience and a lot of knowledge about how to work on a big project and what it takes to produce a game that will be released to the public,” he said.

Hoge’s final project assignment was to design a game level of a cube game, with free rein to design and produce a playable experience.

To create a playful atmosphere, he gave it the feel of a toy box or children’s toy room. Over the course of two weeks, Hoge spent many late nights developing his level.

“My favorite part of it that I did was adding a little toy train that moves around the level, which required me to learn something in the game design software Unity called splines,” he explained. “That final touch really made it come together.”

He also enjoyed texturing or applying the color and surface properties throughout the game, noting that he took inspiration from real-life toys to create the look of items like Legos and toy blocks.

While Hoge enjoys the artistic knowledge he’s developed through the game program so far, his interest is based more on the coding portion of game design.

His inspiration to create games comes from people’s emotional reactions to them, such as joy, happiness, and even the occasional frustration that may be caused by not passing a level.

“One part I’ve really enjoyed is even if I’m doing something more technical, I’m making something that will make others happy and have fun,” he said.

Hoge was shocked to learn he won the semester award. “I was very proud and happy, but quite surprised as well.”

His advice for others interested in game design is to start making games, but they don’t have to be perfect.

“Even if you make something that doesn’t turn out the best, at least you made something, which takes a lot of dedication and effort.”

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