FIEA students reveal game on iTunes

By Brandon Hamilton

Recognized nationally for its academics and athletics, UCF may be known for something else in the future — video game production.

The Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy is UCF’s graduate game-development program located in Downtown Orlando.

According to the FIEA website, the academy teaches artists, programmers and producers the techniques, tools and skills that you wouldn’t get in a traditional degree program. FIEA was also designed to mimic the production environment of an actual gaming studio.

“FIEA is a video game development boot camp. It’s a place to go to practice a large amount of video game development over a short period of time,” said Jay Weatherstone, 25, who is in his first year at FIEA on the programming track.

Faculty member Ron Weaver echoed Weatherstone’s statement.

“[FIEA] is an opportunity to bridge the large knowledge gap between students and experienced game developers,” Weaver said.

Weaver has been a faculty member at FIEA since 2005.

In fall 2009, Weatherstone, along with Alex Howell, Reinaldo Rivera, Amanda Garza and Bill Sellinger formed Cohart 6 Games to create the multi-player game Revelations.

Listed on Apple’s iTunes App Store, Revelations is a supernaturally themed action-puzzle game in which players try to get seven angels or demons across the screen into their opponents’ scoring zone. It can be played alone or using Bluetooth technology to play with multiple players. The game is playable on the newly released iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch for free.

“We wanted something you could pick up really quick. We wanted to give players options to create a game on their own,” Howell said.

Howell, in his third semester at FIEA, served as one of the designers for the game. His job included working with Sellinger designing the themes and rules of the game.

According to Howell, it was the team chemistry that got them through the tedious process.

A running back for Auburn University in his undergraduate years, Howell said the team mentality on the field is the same at school.

“The five of us worked seamlessly together. I couldn’t praise my team enough,” Howell said.

After signing up on Apple’s Developer Center, the team tweaked the game and also took out some of the original features to fit the specified rules.

Weatherstone said there were a few code signing issues but that they were able to solve them using Apple’s online documentation and instructions.

According to Howell, a week after submitting the game to Apple, the group received an e-mail stating, “Congratulations your game Revelations is now available to download on the iTunes Store”.

Revelations began as a group project in 2009 and since then, Cohart 6 Games has quickly made plans for future projects.

Howell said he is working on more titles to release to the iTunes Store before his graduation.

The best part of the game, according to Howell, was the response the group received from their classmates and knowing that they created the game.

“You get what you put in, and we put in a long two weeks,” Weatherstone added.

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