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Game On!

Craig Huckerby for local2 sault ste. marie
August 5th, 2012 at 11:47am | Last Updated at 5:11pm

Many of us play video games without giving a minute's thought of how much work goes into developing a game.

There's usually a large team of talented programmers, developers, graphic artists and marketers that make each video game you play possible.

ProtoLaunch, a unique three-year youth program made possible with funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and as part of a summer youth program, 6 teams of 4 high school students get paid to create their own prototype of a video games from scratch.

On Saturday, those teams competed for $13,000 in scholarships and the top prize winners being awarded an all expense paid trip to Montreal to meet with Industry professionals and tour major video game developers such as Ubisoft, the world's largest video gaming studio and Warner Bros. Studios.

The 24 competing students certainly had their work cut out for them as did the judges.

During the competition presentation, the teams showed how their games played.

Dwanye Hammond, Director of ProtoLaunch and a 14 year veteran in the video gaming industry was floored by the talent in the room.

"Every games that I have worked on takes at least 4 to 5 years to develop, these kids created and developed a working game in five weeks, it's absurd!"

The themes of the games all had to do with life experience from a high school perspective.

Some even had environmental overtones such as the game "Rain Dash" developed by Sandworm Studios.

Others had darker themes such as the game presented by Obsidian Taillight with their game entitled "Trapped in Shadows"

The team from Obscure Studios developed " Personal Space Invaders"

"The gaming industry is bigger than Hollywood in terms of overall revenue" Hammond explained, it's a huge multi -billion dollar industry with top studios always looking to recruit the best in programming, graphic artists etc.."

Several awards were announced Saturday at the Algoma University, Great West Life Amphitheatre.

The winning team, "Ethos" developed by Psyche Studios made up of Andrew Cameron, Jodi Aikens, Joshua Cappelli and Tyler Henshaw.

"This game was probably the most advanced and most playable" Hammond told the crowd before announcing the final winner.

The game surrounds a teen boy with the players ultimately deciding what traits the boy would develop in life, that of his down on his luck Father or World Wise Grandfather.

Top Rookie award went to Justin Rhude who worked on "Trapped in Shadows"

The competing teams included;

Nathan Jaremo, Jesse Lopes, Veronica Embury, Noah Aslett

Ryan Kosler, Andy Payette,Sean Murphy, Connor Nelson

Kyle King, Matthew Doherty, Justin Rhude, Smantha Luck

Johnathan Townsend, James Michaud, Alex Ketola, Jennie Clayton

Jacob Hayes, Benjamin Amond, Teddy Leger, Marc Tremblay

Andrew Cameron, Jodi Aikens, Joshua Cappelli and Tyler Henshaw.

ProtoLaunch is an initiative of the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre with cooperation with Algoma University, Sault College and funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.


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