Feb. 21, 2007

The Guildhall at SMU student, graduates
win prizes at Independent Game Festival

Josh Szepietowski of SMU's GuildhallDallas (SMU) – The Independent Game Festival (IGF) named Southern Methodist University student Josh Szepietowski one of 10 student showcase winners for 2007. Szepietowski, a graduate student at The Guildhall at SMU, developed Invalid Tangram as his term one, 2-D project.

Inspired by the Sundance Film Festival, The Independent Game Festival began in 1998 with the goal of recognizing the best independent game developers.  IGF chose Szepietowski’s game from over 100 submissions.

“During their 21 months of study at SMU, our students create three fully functional 2-D and 3-D games,” Dr. Peter Raad, executive director of The Guildhall at SMU, said. “By working in cross-disciplinary teams, our students hone their technical skills and develop their team-oriented mindset, allowing them to gain the experience of the pace and the style of real-world game development.  The quality of the resulting games is validated by our students being honored by IGF.”

Josh Szepietowski's Invalid Tangram
Josh Szepietowski's Invalid Tangram
See Guildhall students' game trailers.

Currently, Szepietowski is working on an Invalid Tangram port for the Nintendo® D.S.  He said the port will take advantage of the hand-held system’s unique hardware and will include wireless multi-player modes and a world-wide high score ladder.  He will show the port at the Invalid Tangram pod at IGF.

Szepietowski said he was a fan of two game genres when he started the project, so he found a way to combine them. He will accept his award at IGF in San Francisco March 7.      

Szepietowski will graduate from The Guildhall at SMU in March 2007.

In addition to the student showcase recognition, IGF named Weekday Warrior the best single-player first person shooter modification: an alteration to an existing game, (i.e. mod).  The Guildhall at SMU graduates James Beech, Ian Childs, John Cipriano, Andrew Coggin, Ryan Dunagan, Philip Escobedo, Gohar Kanungo, Hilary Kauder, Jim Kneuper, Phillip Littman, Robert Midlil, Paul Ohanian, Tom Parker, and Bobby Simpson formed Cut Corner Company Productions (CCCP) while they were graduate students at SMU.

Weekday Warrior
For their final six-month project, these students created Weekday Warrior using the Half-Life 2 engine.  The IGF web site describes the game as “a total conversion mod in the vein of old-school adventure games.” Weekday Warrior is set inside a modern corporate office environment, where players can enjoy mini games such as office golf, darts, and trashcan basketball. After graduating from SMU in May, CCCP members went to work for companies in half a dozen major cities. Some team members will represent the game at the Game Developer’s Conference (GDC) in San Francisco this March.

All finalist titles won a travel stipend of $500 to help them attend GDC, where they will show their games in the IGF Pavilion. One student team and one modding finalist will win $5,000 for the “best of” their respective categories during the IGF Awards on March 7.

About The Guildhall at SMU: The Guildhall at Southern Methodist University is the premier graduate video game education program in the United States. The program offers a graduate certificate and Master’s of Science degree in interactive technology.  The program has a 95 percent placement rate and its former students work for more than 50 of the world’s leading video game companies.

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