Owl-Based Video Game Created at UW-Stout Wins National Award

UW-Stout News

OWL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL. A team from UW-Stout’s game design program (above) won a national award for Everend, a single-player game focused on an owl.
OWL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL. A team from UW-Stout’s game design program (below) won a national award for Everend, a single-player game focused on an owl.

The game design program at UW-Stout is turning some heads for the second time in four years after a video game designed by a team of students took a first-place award in a national competition.

Everend, a game about a young owl caught in a massive cave after an ancient volcanic eruption, won the Best Visual Quality award at the Intel University Games Showcase. The award was announced March 2 in San Francisco at the world Game Developers Conference.

Two other winners were announced. Carnegie Mellon University of Pittsburgh, Pa., won for Best Gameplay and University of Central Florida of Orlando won for Innovation. Games from 11 universities and colleges from around the U.S. were chosen by Intel to compete at the showcase.UW-Stout will receive $10,000 worth of Intel products for its game design program.

In June 2013, the video game Flash Frozen by a UW-Stout team was named co-champion in the E3 national video game competition in Los Angeles sponsored by the Entertainment Software Association.

“We can’t believe our little owl game has garnered so much support and recognition, and we are so incredibly thankful for this award,” said UW-Stout student Megan Daniels, of Oshkosh, one of 12 students who created Everend last year in a class taught by associate professor Dave Beck, the game’s executive producer. Teams had five minutes to present their games to judges and three minutes to answer questions. Judging was based on creativity and innovation; rendering quality; character design; and art style and education, including quality of noncharacter models and animation.

Beck, who also taught the class that produced Flash Frozen, says the latest award speaks volumes about the quality of UW-Stout’s program. “To have UW-Stout’s student team take first place in the Best Visuals category amongst so many large, internationally known art schools demonstrates that we can and will continue to compete on a national level in myriad art and design disciplines,” Beck said. “I truly believe Everend’s aesthetic success is largely due to the passionate and talented faculty and staff working in the School of Art and Design, all of whom are tirelessly dedicated to training the great visual thinkers and creative researchers of the future.”

Beck is director of the Bachelor of Fine Arts game design program – UW-Stout also has a Bachelor of Science game design program – and is director of the School of Art and Design, as well as associate dean of the College of Arts, Communications, Humanities, and Social Sciences.

“I couldn’t be more proud of these 12 students. Their capstone project was a major part of their life for seven straight months, so this recognition will hopefully begin to demonstrate that not only was it worth all of those long days and late nights, but that we have something really special in the both the game design and development program and the School of Art and Design at UW-Stout,” Beck said. 

Everend is a short, single-player game that revolves around Kaia, a young owl in a vast cave who has been separated from its family during an ancient volcanic eruption. Kaia hasn’t yet learned to fly and must avoid various obstacles as it traverses the many levels of the cave in trying to escape.

To learn more about the game, to watch a trailer, or to download it, visit thatowlgame.com.