Video games, virtual reality, and computer graphics enthusiasts gathered on the 26th of January for our yearly expo. Our lab rooms and hallway became a place for the local industry and students to show each other their latest fantastic works. Five local organizations were represented, and ten of our best student projects were available for playing. The event finished with three unique presentations about computer graphics and video game design.
The student projects area in room 2006 featured the best projects from our different courses, as well as projects students had been working on for their theses and independently of their studies. EleBall is a very touching and polished balancing game about a performer elephant doing tricks on a ball. The game could be played with a keyboard or by using a DualSense controller to balance the elephant. Evelyn’s Story (House Escape Puzzle Game) is an haunted house adventure game, where the player has to piece together clues about what happened to Evelyn and his husband in a old abandoned family home from the 1920s. The house and its interior were created by our students for this game to match the time period and the narrative of the story. The Arcweave Games area showed eight interactive narrative games/stories made by one student. Visitors could play through all the eight stories to participate in a lottery. The other projects in that area were Undead Saviors, Water Sort Puzzle With Glittery Shader, Kebab Lala, and Perpetua – a thesis project in the works. One more thesis project was in the hallway on the smart glass wall of room 2007. There a student had built a custom physical game controller for playing the game SIGINT.
The virtual reality student projects were in room 2007. Those were a highly polished rhythm game called VR Rhythm Journey and our long-running virtual reality Delta building experience DeltaVR. Alongside them visitors of that room could check out our Virtual Tour Game project – a learning game used in our Evolution of Video Games course. For people interested in technical computer graphics, Ats Kurvet from Exteriorbox was showing his latest works.
In the hallway, visitors checked out the booths of local companies and organizations. Students who aspire to become developers in the entertainment software industry should already during their studies become aware of the potential dream companies to work at after graduation. Thus, we are very grateful for all the represented companies who came network at the event. The openness of the companies and organizations at such events increases the sector’s visibility not only among our students but also for the general public.
|Tartu Art School
EEVR is a organization that associates Estonian extended reality companies, allowing them to share expertise, and providing visible representation among the public. It is always great to see what new virtual reality hardware or latest projects from the local industry EEVR brings.
Blueray is University of Tartu’s spin-off company that specializes in reconstructions of historic locations and events in virtual reality. They bring to life iconic places that no longer exist in the modern day and let us experience how our previous generations lived and what, often tragic, situations influenced them.
Maru VR is one of the top virtual reality companies in Estonia who is currently producing a VR game Boostrap Island. At our expo they showed their newest short VR experience Emotions of Love that our lab’s educator Jaanus Jaggo helped them to make for the Tartu 2024 European Capital of Culture program.
We are very glad that Tartu Art School could also join our event. They have a 3D Designer curriculum that educates young people in making top-quality 3D graphical assets. Lot of their students collaborate with our students during our game jams and joint projects. Thus, as entertainment software sector is immensely multidisciplinary, it was very exciting and beneficial to see their amazing projects alongside the other companies and our students.
The second half of the expo featured three presentations. First, our lab’s specialist Ats Kurvet from Exteriorbox did an in-depth analysis of the video game graphics of Alan Wake 2. This is a technically very interesting game in terms of computer graphics as they have developed an astounding global illumination technique. This means that they calculate quite accurately light transport throughout the geometry of the game scenes in real time. This results in a much more accurate representation of ambient scene lighting, reflections, and shadows than has previously done. Analyzing such solutions provides a lot of insight into how modern and future games achieve high fidelity render quality.
Next up was Siim Soonsein from Tartu Art School who spoke about the 3D Designer studies and the latest projects their students are making art in.
The last presentation was Adventures in Arcweave Asylum by Raimond Tunnel. He talked about the Arcweave tool and how he used Midjourney to make the eight interactive narrative games/stories that were shown during the expo. Behind each story there were specific prompts and themes given out by the Arcweave team for everyone to be creative with. The presentation discussed the themes and inspirations, how different game mechanics and the visual styles developed, as well as the narrative structures for each game/story. During the questions and answers part, Raimond discussed how good time and scope constraints can result in a nice portfolio of games rather than a lot of unfinished projects in the bottom of a drawer.
Thanks to all the visitors and participants of the event. See you again, next year!
Photos by Olevus Art: