Company Spotlight: ArtCraft Entertainment

0 Commentsby   |  07.27.16  |  Game Development, Spotlight

ArtCraft LogoBy Austin Graham, Senior DET Major, portfolio

If you have wanted to see the inner workings of a start-up indie company, then look no further than ArtCraft Entertainment (ACE) based in Austin, Texas! With their flagship game, Crowfall, announced in January of 2015, ArtCraft has already had a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised $1,766,204. That was just over 220% of their goal! The company was founded by J Todd Coleman, Creative Director, and Gordon Walton, Executive Producer, who are big names in the MMO field. Not only that, ArtCraft is pulling together talented artists and game designers from all over to make their idea a reality.

Crowfall is a “throne war simulator” that pits teams of players against each other to conquer worlds before they are destroyed, bring back the spoils of war and go out and do it all again. With what promises to be an intricate crafting system, diverse roles of combat, and political ties and intrigue, there are many ways to play that should keep players very busy. It is currently in Pre-Alpha development, but there is no NDA so players are allowed to stream their gameplay on Twitch and Youtube.


What we here in the DET department really like to see is the transparency and behind the scenes access ACE has given backers and players. Their YouTube page is full of behind the scenes videos showing the different skills and art forms that go into making games. From 3D modeling, to system design, there are videos showing just how much thought and work is going into their game. Below are links to a few of the videos that deal with some of the different areas of DET.

3D Modeling and Texturing: Centuar Helmet Creation with artist Eric Hart


Animation: Meet Crowfall’s Animators


Visual Effects: Meet the VFX Team


Bringing it all together: First Look – Gaea’s Wail


Charlie Velazquez Spotlight: Dragons and Gods

0 Commentsby   |  07.05.16  |  Spotlight

By Katey Bluel

Dragons and Gods

Dragons and Gods

Game developer Charlie Velazquez has just released an app on the ITunes app store called “Dragons and Gods”. He worked on developing his app for a little over a year. Charlie explained that “Dragons and Gods” is a side scroller game, with the goal of unlocking new dragons and leveling them up to see them evolve.

As the sole developer, he used multiple programs to develop the project’s content. The programs used were Corona (game engine), Photoshop, Adobe Animate, Texture Packer, Physics Editor, FL Studio,, and Audacity. When Charlie was asked what inspired him, he said, “Since I can remember I’ve loved dragons! But what really inspired me to create “Dragons and Gods” is a game called “War Dragons”. “War Dragons” is a 3D game that is all about collecting over 100 unique dragons and leveling them up in
order for the player to become a feared dragon lord. It has astounding graphics, it really brings dragons to13575778_1157980234225381_6929804754341387995_o life, and I wanted to give that a try in my own way.” His favorite part during development was programming as it really opened his eyes as to how games are developed as well as using programming to bring his artwork to life. Although programming was his favorite part, he admits it was also the hardest part. “When I started this project I did not know the Lua language, I did not take any classes to learn it either. Luckily, ACU offers times every week during the fall semester where there is a tutor available to help with Lua programming. So, I went to tutoring as often as I could. I got the help of awesome tutors and I probably couldn’t have done it without them.”

His advice to anyone who wants to develop an app is, “Have fun with it, and be creative! Put in a little time and effort in everyday cause it all adds up.” Support Charlie with his accomplishment by downloading “Dragons and Gods” today!

You can see more about “Dragons and Gods” by going to Charlie’s website.


Global Game Jam

0 Commentsby   |  01.20.16  |  Uncategorized

Global Game Jam (GGJ) is a worldwide event where people gather to develop and create a game in 48 hours. The game could be a board game, PC, mobile, or physical game. The first GGJ was held in 2008. Just last year, there were 500 locations that spanned 78 countries in which students created 5,439 games in one weekend! This year will be ACU’s 5th time participating.

This is a great chance to try something different that you always wanted to try, to experiment, and see what can be done. Students who come to this event will be able to seek out assistance with school projects or with their creative ideas around the GGJ theme. In past years students that were participating used the opportunity to develop a game that they later sold in the iTunes and Google app stores.

DET professor Dr. Burton states,

We are really excited to participate in GGJ this year.  Not only do we have a lot of Digital Entertainment Technology majors and minors who will be participating, but we are expecting a significant participation from students in other majors as well.  This is a chance to bring your ideas to the table for a game and see how much you can get done in a dedicated weekend. Best of all, there will be food available during the Jam, so you don’t have to leave, you can focus on your game.

Student Austin Graham reflects on his past GGJ experiences:

I have been present at the last two Global Game Jams. At the first one, I went with the theme and attempted to come up with a game in 48 hours. The results were less than stellar, but the experience was a good one. I like attending the GGJ because there is, in my opinion, a nice, productive atmosphere where I can work on projects and it does not feel too demanding or tedious.

This event will be held January 29-31 in the third floor of the Mabee Business Building. Snacks and drinks will be provided. The kick-off event begins Friday, January 29 at 6:00 pm.

For information on registering, email us at

App Showcase Success

1 Commentby   |  12.14.15  |  Uncategorized

This semester in the Introduction to Information, Technology, and Computing class, students have been working on developing a mobile app. Students were given ten weeks to develop an idea, form a team, and develop an app. This Thursday, they were able to showcase their project to their fellow students, faculty, and staff members.

“I learned a lot about sprite making and how to work within a team of various personalities and talents  to create a video game. It was challenging and rewarding to see something I created come to life,” says DET student, Hayley Hand.

Each team performed exceptionally well, thoroughly impressing the faculty. “This is always an exciting event for the students and the faculty,” Dr. Burton says, “This is where we get to see the full app or game that they have been working on all semester. We were thrilled with the results and what our students accomplished.”

When asked, many teams stated that they would like to continue working on this project and eventually get their app to the point where it can be published in the App Store or Google Play store. Shapes & Colors team member, Nathan Sherrill reflects, “This project challenged me to learn a new programming language and be able to develop a mobile app in a 10 week time-frame. It was challenging to do so, but it was rewarding to see I had a final product that was complete and functioning by the end. As Dr. Burton says, I am ready to “make 10​s​ of cents” for each purchase of my mobile app.”

Some of the most notable teams included Barista Buddy, The Unfamiliar Path, Spinball, and Shapes & Colors.

Staff members listen in on the Barista Buddy

Staff members listening in on the Barista Buddy commercial

Team ___ presents their game, ______.

Students presenting their game, The Unfamiliar Path, to Dr. Reeves

A closer look at ___

A closer look at The Unfamiliar Path

Students explain their game, ____.

Students explaining their game, Spinball





Gamification Gives Course New Appeal

0 Commentsby   |  11.30.15  |  Uncategorized


DET professor Brian Burton has started developing an exciting new program that will infuse class with games.

Gamification is a concept that has gained significant interest in the past couple of years. It is a process where one takes game elements and puts them into a class allowing you to earn badges and achievements. Its purpose is to make courses more interesting, fun, and to encourage more participation by students.

Last spring, Dr. Burton and a group of students developed a gamification website. This website allowed you to log in, enter the project you had completed, and earn badges and achievements as well as a grade for the assignment. For example, you could unlock the “Photoshop” badge and were given a little badge that you could display on your website. This project went very well and is now functioning as an independent website that can be used in conjunction with any class.

Dr. Burton reflects, “We started thinking that it would be a lot better if this was integrated into Canvas or Blackboard or any other learning management systems that we typically use on campus”. This led to the acceptance of a grant from the Adams Center to further develop this program. Over the next year, Dr. Burton along with students Austin Graham and Katey Bluel will work to create a plugin that will allow the gamification of the Canvas website. Users will be able to take this plugin and add it to any class.

Gamification has already proven to be successful in raising student participation. Students will do more things to earn a badge than they would necessarily do just to earn points for a project. Another feature to better increase participation is gamification through peer reviews. Gamification samples were added so students could view other student’s works and comment on them. If you completed ten reviews, you could earn a badge. Before gamification, only one or two people would participate in responses. Afterwards, the majority of the class were reviewing and doing ten peer reviews and giving comments and feedback on other projects. They became much more invested in earning a badge or an achievement, even if there were no points involved.

At this point, Dr. Burton and his team have to figure out one thing: how to make the experience as easy as possible for the user. As for the future of gamification at ACU, Dr. Burton states, “There are a lot of places researching gamification or the implementation of gamification. None of them have been easy to use. Our intention is to create an open source plugin that anyone at any university can take and use for their classes.”

Not only will this new program benefit the school, it will benefit the students. “DET students are creating the next generation of inclusion of gamification and they are creating research that will, hopefully, have a broad impact,” states Burton. “It gives them practice in doing the gamification process. If they work for the corporate office at United or a major bank, many of them are looking into how to incorporate gamification. They will already have the experience doing the gamification and they will be able to apply it in an environment like that.”

Dr. Burton is very excited about this opportunity and looks to have this product fully ready to be used by students by next fall.

Digital Entertainment Technology Promo 2

0 Commentsby   |  11.04.15  |  Uncategorized

Check out this promo video for DET featuring Austin Graham, created by senior DET major Cannon Spears:

Digital Entertainment Technology Promo

0 Commentsby   |  11.04.15  |  Uncategorized

Check out this promo for ACU’s DET program, featuring Katey Bluel, created by senior DET major Ivan Righi:

Kelli Dushane – I Am New

0 Commentsby   |  11.04.15  |  Uncategorized

Watch this inspiring video created by 2015 DET graduate, Tim Holt:

Austin – DET Major from Corpus Christi, TX

0 Commentsby   |  11.04.15  |  Uncategorized


During his senior year in high school, Austin narrowed down his college search to the schools that had progressive IT Departments. ACU stood out to him because the program felt open-ended. It made him feel like he could take the major and go where he wanted to go with it. He also visited the school and loved how welcoming the atmosphere was to him. With these two observations, Austin decided to join the ACU family.

Originally, Austin was focused on the graphic side, but quickly realized he also enjoyed the programming aspects of IT. Through ACU’s DET major, he is now able to combine both of these passions into one major. The DET club allows him to take school projects that he was working on and excited about to a whole new level.  According to Austin, “You can have an idea and make it real, because of DET”.

Austin is currently debating whether he wants to follow the programming route or if he wants to go towards the more creative side of his education. Ideally, he would like to use both of these in his future career.  His advice to people looking into the department: “If programming is not your thing, it is okay. If you are more towards the creative side, you have a place here. Not everyone can be programmers. We need artists and creative people too!”

Something that Austin loves about this department is truly having his voice being heard, no matter what year he is in school. He really enjoys when professors call him out in class to share his thoughts and ideas. It has helped him not only become a leader in the department but also feel confident in his abilities because his professors truly believe in him. As he advances into higher level classes, he is excited to learn more about programming and the excitement that comes along with that.

He also noted that, “It is not just playing games here. Rather, it is a lot of hard work that is both rewarding and fun”. No matter how old you are or what year you are in high school or college, start practicing and thinking up ideas now. Even if those ideas seem small or irrelevant to what you are currently learning, everyone has to start somewhere. He says that it is also very helpful to come into the department already having ideas to work on in classrooms and for club. “It’s easy to get started once you are here, because you have all the resources that you need right in front of you.”

DET Club Creates Virtual Campus to Enhance Campus Experience

0 Commentsby   |  12.04.14  |  Uncategorized

Going for a campus visit is about to get much easier thanks to the upcoming Virtual Campus program. The DET Club is creating something new for the ACU campus.  Basically, people will be able to view and tour the buildings and grounds without having to be physically present at ACU. There will be interactive games which will use the campus as the map. Many people will be able to enjoy the campus whether they live here or not. This is important for prospective students because they will be able to see what campus life is like before being here. One of these tools will be a fun game that allows the user to create their own dorm room.

Only one or two other colleges have virtual campuses, but the plan is for this one to be completely different than all the others. The gaming aspect of it will make the program unique. Katey Bluel, DET Club PR Director said she is, “especially excited for mini games and the inside jokes that ACU people would understand.” She also noted their desire to make these games very user friendly.

A demo of the program is planned to be launched in two years. The officers noted that there is a lot of work to do yet, but the process is part of the fun. This is big project for the club and they are excited about it. DET Club President, Justin Foley, said “This is something to showcase our skills to future club employees.” Not only is this an exciting venture, but also something that will help students build an outstanding résumé.

Another great aspect about this project is that absolutely anyone can get involved. No matter what your major, you can help! The DET students are learning this new type of programing too. They would love to see more people get involved from the beginning and start learning more about this system. DET Club Vice President Austin Graham said, “This is the first time that we’ve done something this big. Anyone who wants to join – can.”

Join the DET Club social media pages to stay updated on the progress of the Virtual Campus!