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Video Game Creators Earn Top Honors

Collegiate Team's 'Paper Craft' Game Developed for Mobile Devices

June 18, 2014

paper craft game graphic

A team of CSUF students and alumni created "Paper Craft," a video game for mobile devices, where players become pilots of paper airplanes or paper tanks and shoot down enemies.

A team of Cal State Fullerton computer scientists and animators has created a video game depicting a world of paper, where players become pilots of paper airplanes or paper tanks and shoot down enemies like "the worm" and "the wasp."

"Paper Craft" for mobile devices is not only a game the creators hope will appeal to players of all ages, it also caught the attention of video game industry leaders.

The game won first place at the recent Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) GameSIG Intercollegiate Computer Game Showcase competition held on campus. Ten teams from Southland universities and colleges shared their imaginative projects with a panel of veteran game developers.

"We're very excited to win this award. It means that our hard work paid off and winning the grand prize gave the team a big boost in confidence — that we're doing something right," said lead animator and alumnus Zachary Spurlock '13 (B.F.A. art-entertainment art/animation).

The team, known as "Hand Made Games," includes lead programmer Jeff Einspahr, sound designer Matt Kelly and voice actor Jay Chan, all senior computer science majors; plus video editor Emily Chiang, a senior majoring in art and computer science, whose team in 2012 won top honors for their phone game; and alumnus and creative director Zachary Aller '13 (B.F.A. art-entertainment art/animation).

Michael Shafae, associate professor of computer science who helped organize the third annual competition with industry professionals and academics, said the showcase is an opportunity for students to be recognized for their technical, artistic and narrative achievements.

Students benefit from networking with peers, learning to cope with disappointment, improving communication skills, and having industry leaders recognize and understand their achievement. "I remind my students that if nothing is ventured, then nothing is gained," Shafae said.

In "Paper Craft," the player controls a paper aircraft, maneuvering and shooting against many different enemies to reach the "boss" at the end of the level, explained Spurlock. The game can be played with one or two players with one controlling the aircraft and the other the tank.

"Watching something you had in your head come to life and being able to carry it around in your pocket is one of the coolest things," said Aller. "The most fun I've had is watching people's reactions to the game."

The team members, avid gamers since childhood, hope the experience of developing an award-winning game will help their aspiring careers in the game industry.

"Watching my animations come to life in the game, while playing it, is what I have always wanted to do," said Spurlock.

Einspahr, who as a boy was hooked on games like "Super Mario" and "Zelda II: The Adventure of Link," added: "Being chosen as champions for the showcase is definitely something that looks good on your resume. My hope is to get into the game industry, since I have always had a passion, and that this project leads me along that path."

What's next for Hand Made Games? Turning "Paper Craft" into a marketable app.

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