DePaul’s Octodad Named Student Showcase Winner at the 2011 IGF Competition

Octodad, a third-person PC adventure about “destruction, deception and fatherhood,” has been named one of eight Student Showcase Winners for the 2011 Independent Games Festival (IGF) at the Game Developers Conference (GDC), which will be held Feb. 28 to March 4 in San Francisco. DePaul University’s Devil’s Tuning Fork was also an IGF Student Showcase Winner in 2010.

Created by students in DePaul University’s College of Computing and Digital Media with the help of advisors Patrick Curry (Game Director, Wideload Games and game design instructor at DePaul) and Associate Professor Scott Roberts, the game tells the story of Octodad, a cephalopod whose true nature must be kept hidden from his human family.

The innovative third-person adventure game, free to download from the DePaul site, has been collecting accolades from game enthusiast and consumer publications since its release in late 2010. Octodad has been featured on Kotaku, Joystiq, Destructoid, IGN, Indie Gamer and PC Gamer and downloaded more than 125,000 times since its release. The game received an “Honorable Mention” from Indiegames.com’s Best Of 2010: Top 10 Indie Games; it was also named Funniest Video Game of 2010 by SplitSider.com.

Founded in 2004, DePaul’s Game Development Program emphasizes a team-based approach to game development and includes courses in production, design, programming and animation. The university offers the largest computer science and game development program in the Midwest and was one of the first liberal arts universities to create a game program. DePaul currently has 259 undergraduates and 36 graduates enrolled in its game program.

“Octodad is near and dear to our hearts because it displays an immense degree of creativity while being really fun to play,” said David Miller, dean of the College of Computing and Digital Media at DePaul.  “More than a technical achievement, the award validates DePaul’s multidisciplinary approach to game development, rewarding this game for its unique aesthetics, programming chops and writing.”

DePaul’s program gives students a real-world view of careers in game development and builds the skills that will help them find employment in the business immediately after graduation.

“The game industry is known to be tough to break into – and unforgiving to those who lack experience making games,” said Scott Roberts, project advisor for the team behind Octodad and associate professor at DePaul’s School of Cinema and Interactive Media. “You can’t beat going to school and producing an award-winning game as a job-hunting strategy. Kudos to the team for pulling it off in such a spectacular fashion.”

Octodad can be downloaded for free at http://www.octodadgame.com/

To learn more about DePaul’s Game Development program, visit http://gamedev.depaul.edu/.

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