MSUM Design and animation students team up to develop a game celebrating diversity, equity and inclusion

In the world of design and animation, there are many aspects to creating a game. It’s an intensive process developing cutscenes, animation, backgrounds and character designs. Students in the Interactive Media Studio class decided to take this challenge head-on for this year's annual Student Academic Conference (SAC).  

Angela Konz, a graphic communication major, and her partner Rebecca Zych, an animation major, created a Halloween-themed video game called “The Great Halloween Kerfuffle” for this year's conference. 

In the game, Arora, a kind witch, travels through the realms of different characters to save her Halloween party. She must find the fairy spirits from each level to save each of her friends from Frisk, the mischievous spirit.  

For this project, students paired up to develop concepts pertaining to diversity, equity and inclusion. Alexandria Fogarty, associate professor in the School of Media Arts and Design, mentored each team throughout the process.  

“She (Alexandria) wanted it to have a purpose and meaning,” Angela said. “We took Halloween character stereotypes and flipped them on their head.”  

This game features three of Arora’s friends. Harlow is a studious and kind vampire. Ollie is a werewolf who runs a tea shop in the woods. Reaper has a soft personality and loves to grow flowers. 

Angela has learned a lot from working with Rebecca on this project.  

"I honestly couldn’t have done it without her," Angela said. “She knows a lot more about animating the character inside the game and a lot of the movement that needs to happen. She also did a great job using the game engine we used for this project.” 

Angela also improved her interpersonal skills while working on the game. Along with collaborating on ideas and designs, she created background visuals and a promotional piece for the game. It features stickers of every character and a QR code to preview the gameplay. 

The Great Halloween Kerfuffle QR Code.png

This will be Angela’s first presentation at the SAC. She is excited to gain recognition for the arts.  

“With our studio class, it was something we’ve never really seen before,” she said. “There were no group-based game projects. I feel like I've come a long way in being able to present my ideas to people and I feel like this is a professional scenario for me to learn from."

The conference takes place Tuesday, April 5. To see Angela and Rebecca’s game in action, scan the QR code above. Visit the Student Academic Conference website to see the full schedule and list of presentations. 

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