MSU students, professors bring Big Ten rivalry to gaming world
Students, alumni and anyone on the Internet can help Sparty take on unfriendly rival snowmen in a new video game produced by MSU students.
With the help of telecommunication, information studies and media associate professor Brian Winn, a group of graduate and undergraduate students working at the Games for Entertainment and Learning, or GEL, Lab recently produced Grumpy Snowmen — a game featuring Sparty hurling footballs, basketballs and other sporting equipment at snowmen dressed in rival Big Ten colors throughout campus.
The GEL Lab is an association at MSU featuring students and faculty focused on game research and design, according to its website.
Based on the popular Internet and smart phone application game Angry Birds, Grumpy Snowmen has 20 different levels of snowmen protected by forts in iconic areas of campus, such as Beaumont Tower and the Union.
Using a slingshot, players can direct Sparty to aim and shoot basketballs, footballs and soccer balls at the snowmen to knock them over and pass the level.
The game is free and available on Macs, PCs and hand-held Apple products such as iPhones.
The team came up with the concept after they were approached by the College of Communication Arts and Sciences to come up with a holiday-themed game, said William Jeffery, a media arts and technology senior and a designer on the project.
About 450 hours of student time was put into the game, he said.
The group initially released a four-level game during holiday break but released the latest expanded version last Thursday.
As of Saturday, Jeffery said the number of game downloads topped 10,000.
Having the game showcased made computer science junior Dan Sosnowski, who worked on the game’s programming, proud of Grumpy Snowmen.
“It’s nice to have my name out there. It feels really cool (that) all these people are playing my game,” Sosnowski said.
Kinesiology freshman Joanna Beaton said the game provides those close to MSU the chance to beat other Big Ten teams on a different level and said the game would help the students and the university gain more publicity.
“It’s really cool they’re establishing themselves in the gaming world,” Beaton said.
Graduate student Kristina Cunningham, who worked on art and background designs for Grumpy Snowmen, said the project draws positive attention to MSU.
“It’s been a great opportunity to work on a fun project,” Cunningham said.