Dream Realized

Bradley students at the E3 conference. (Photo provided)

July 18, 2017

By Matt Hawkins

A team of Bradley interactive media majors lived a lifelong dream at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) conference in Los Angeles. The June conference — one of the largest gaming tradeshows in the world — brought together 68,000 game design industry leaders, media and enthusiasts.

Bradley students earned an invite for their videogame creation “Starcats,” which finished among the top five games submitted to the E3 Collegiate Competition. More than 400 college teams entered the contest.

“It’s an event I’ve wanted to attend since I was in middle school,” said “Starcats” lead designer Gage Melton ’17, of Stevensville, Michigan. “It was amazing to realize one of my childhood dreams.”

Nine students from the 16-member team reveled three days showcasing their work, mingling with fans and networking with industry professionals. They met noted industry figures such as actor Danny Trejo, blogger Justin McElroy and Giant Squid Studios programmer Derek Cornish.

“It’s crazy how I’ve idolized these people as designers and artists, and now they’re complimenting us on our work,” said “Starcats” producer Quentin Young ’17, of Groveland, Illinois. “That was exhilarating, kind of nerve-wracking. It was a lot to take in for our first time at a trade show of this magnitude.”

When students began to develop “Starcats” in 2016, they hoped to have a fun game on the market when they graduated. They didn’t expect the adventure to end with a significant professional accomplishment a year later.

The team noted feedback from gamers who tried the creation and left L.A. with positive reviews and ideas to improve the game as it finds a niche in the marketplace.

“It was tough determining if we had something fun when we were testing it on campus, but people actually liked ‘Starcats,’” Melton said. “It was huge to show that we’re capable of making a quality game. It will stand out to potential employers.”

By the conference’s end, students’ initial awe and wonder gave way to confidence their Bradley education prepared them for professional success.

“We don’t think of industry insiders as being on pedestals anymore,” Young said. “We realized we know what we’re doing and can hold our own as we begin our careers.”

“Starcats” will go through more refinement with a late 2017 tentative release date on the Steam PC gaming system.