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‘Red Garden’ Goes Toe-to-Toe with the Game Industry

A screenshot from 'Red Garden'

 BEAU game art students were hard at work completing their video game during the annual Global Game Jam competition. Four BEAU students (Kristina Balay, Tyson Catmull, Lehi Jenks and Christina Wyatt) teamed up to complete their creation: Red Garden.

Kristina Balay explained, “Red Garden would start off looking like a pixelated 2D game, but once the camera rotated, it would reveal that the game was built in a 3D environment.”

Once they announced their project, the team ran to the 4th floor game lab—a room they had staked out as their headquarters for the duration of the event. They worked for the next few hours drawing out ideas and possible characters.

The team got to work building levels, enemies, and even a catapult that the character could drive around. As the hours drifted away, they kept strong. Kristina Balay said, “Yeah, the wee hours of the night are always fun because we’re all half dead and super hopped up on energy drinks and caffeine.”

Despite members needing to leave for outside obligations, the team worked furiously through the days and nights to finish the game. By the end of 48 hours our students had a working 3D first-person-shooter, complete with floating squids and a catapult they could drive around and attack giant monsters with.

Kristina Balay said that at the end they “had something that was at least playable.”

While the members might have been relieved to finish the challenge, the Global Game Jam community was incredibly impressed by the game. The games organizer commented to one of BEAU’s instructors that the students were the only ones able to create a 3D game in the 48 hours. Students were able to stand toe-to-toe with fellow contestants from the game industry. Not only did they surprise their peers, but in the end, they surprised themselves as well.

“I didn’t know how to create a game coming into the contest,” Christina Wyatt shared in an interview. “But I loved being able to create something from start to finish during the weekend event.”

BEAU’s students were able to throw themselves into a project for the joy of working. They mingled with industry professionals and pushed themselves to deliver on what they set out on. “I would recommend doing this to the other students for sure,” Kristina Balay said. “I think it’s a lot of fun, and it’s a good experience. It’s a good test of your boundaries and what you’re capable of building/texturing or coding in the short amount of time.”

The dedication of these students begs the question: In a whirlwind of fixed goals, energy drinks, little sleep, and a community that doesn’t look poorly on falling on your face but embraces it—what isn’t possible?