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USC Demo Day to showcase student games May 14

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The University of Southern California's ninth annual Demo Day will take place May 14 on the university's campus, where several student games created throughout two academic departments will be showcased.

The event comes as a collaboration between the USC School of Cinematic Arts' Interactive Media & Games Division and the Viterbi School of Engineering's Department of Computer Science. Demo Day is a culmination of "a year's worth of game development in the joint advanced games course" by university students, according to Michael Zyda, a professor in the Viterbi School of Engineering.

"Each program has its own specialties, and the students from each program bring those specialties together to design and develop the advanced games that are shown at Demo Day," said Tracy Fullerton, chair of SCA’s Interactive Media & Games Division. "It's as close as you can get [to] a true industry-level development experience in an academic setting. The complexity of these projects and the intensity of the hands-on learning these students encounter is without equal."

Games on hand will include:

  • Project Holodeck — A wearable, virtual reality system built with consumer facing displays, cutting-edge custom software and creatively integrated peripherals. Project Holodeck brings 360-degree, full-body virtual reality out of the research lab and transforms it into a fun, accessible, consumer-gaming platform.
  • Conclave — A competitive, third-person shooter that brings combo-based spellcasting to the multiplayer arena. The player assumes control of one of five characters in a specifically free-for-all, deathmatch format. Combining the tactical considerations of each character's diverse ability set with a dose of the twitch shooter, Conclave represents a fusion of first-person genres.
  • Homeward — Two adventurers struggle to find their way home in a whimsical world that is slowly slipping into destruction. The player explores humanity's new home among the stars in a system of tiny planets, where they experience the coming of age of two friends in another world carelessly destroyed by humans.
  • House of Cards - An emotional 3D puzzle platformer for iPad where players build houses of cards to balance personal growth and the needs of society.
  • Thralled — An interactive thriller for iOS that features accessible mechanics, an original, riveting storyline and a unique art style set in 17th centurly Brazil.
  • Core Overload — A MOBA-inspired, team-based multiplayer space combat simulation. Core Overload features over 3000 ship configurations, dynamic parts-based destruction and frantic, team-based PvP gameplay.
  • Outerwilds — A space exploration game that invites the player to embark on a cosmic expedition into a turbulent world driven by forces beyond his control. The player flies into the heart of a gas giant, meets fellow travelers on quantum moons and roasts marshmallows beneath alien skies.
  • Scrapyard — An action-packed brawler in which the player controls animals in mech suits and engages in battle with up to three friends. The player chooses from one of three zany characters, customizes their loadout and fights in one of four unique environments.

Demo Day will begin in the Norris Cinema Theatre from 2:30 p.m. PT to 5:30 p.m. PT, and conclude with hands-on demos in the School of Cinematic Arts Complex.