By Caroline Ryan
Assistant News Editor
Katie Muller, a graduate student in digital game design and development program, recently designed levels for the game Imago as part of her internship at Arkadium.
While the game, Imago, was already created, it was Muller’s job was to design how the game looks. “I pretty much said what buttons go where, how players choose levels. The level mechanics, making numbers/score go up or down, win and lose conditions, as well as the Leaderboards and how those work. I also designed most of the levels that are generated, since they were all pre-made and there are hundreds,” said Muller. The mode she helped create is called Daily Flight and is unlocked after the player reaches a certain score in the level of the last stage of the game.
The games team at Arkadium heard through emails and ratings that players really wanted Imago to be expanded. A development team consisting of five programmers, artists, and game designers, as well as a few others from Arkadium’s Krasnodar office in Russia, helped to develop the new modes. Together they worked to design daily challenges, in hopes that players would never get bored and have something new to come back to everyday. At her internship with Arkadium this semester, Muller has had a chance to participate in the development of Imago, and she is listed on the credits for the release.
Imago is currently released on the App Store (iOS) as well as on Google Play (Android), however the recent Daily Flight update hasn’t been released on Android yet, but will be soon. Imago is a mobile game that can also be played on tablets.
Muller took courses in the game design and development program during her sophomore year of college, when the program was only for graduate students. She graduated from LIU Post with an English writing degree in 2015, and stayed on as a graduate assistant in the master’s program. Muller was a member of the staff of the Pioneer in 2014. “I actually spent a lot of my younger years writing and illustrating my own stories. As I grew older, I wanted to find a way that I would be able to combine my writing and art together, and game design really does that. I love that I can create worlds for people to explore,” said Muller.“Honestly, the best part to me is seeing people’s reactions to your game after it’s finished. You worked so hard on designing so many intricate, important things — like, how long a power up lasts, how high a player can jump, all these things affect a game and can easily made it unpleasant if designed improperly. Then you see people playing it and how happy they are, and their excited reactions and wanting to keep playing. It’s super rewarding.”
The graduate game design and development program began in fall 2011, and the undergraduate program began in fall 2015. “We are really excited about the overwhelming interest we have received from students so far, as the program is growing at an incredibly fast pace,” said Corbetta. The program currently has a total of 30 students.
Students applying to the undergraduate program do not need any specific prior experience. Each aspect of game development is taught with the assumption that students are learning it for the first time.
Representatives from Arkadium, including David Or, the senior game developer and project lead, and Will Bredbeck, director of visual design/creative director, will be on campus on Wednesday, April 13, from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. in the game lab, (Humanities 205), to recruit students for their summer internship program. They are looking for interns in game design, game programming, visual design, project management, and marketing. The information session is open to students of all majors.
The graduate game design and development program is still accepting applications for fall 2016. Email Ramiro Corbetta, the director of the program, at Ramiro.Corbetta@liu.edu for more information.