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VR game developed by IUPUI students offers Breakout High escape challenge

Indianapolis gaming enthusiasts have a new experience to look forward to, in the form of a playable virtual world. A group of science and media arts students of Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) have created a game that demands players utilise their analytical abilities to find a way out from a school where they have been locked inside by a villain.

Titled “Breakout High”, the game can currently be played at the Castleton virtual reality arcade BlueWall VR, located at 5967 E. 82nd St.

Players have to put on a virtual reality headset to partake in this experience, where they find themselves locked within Breakout High classroom. They soon discover it is the doing of Mr. Jack, the villain of the game. Escape is the goal for players who have to solve puzzles to escape several locked rooms and the school building.

The virtual reality game was developed by students under N420 Multimedia Project Development, a project-based team learning programme. BlueWall VR was a client assigned to the team of students, according to its product manager Joshua Kottka.

According to Kottka, the demand for a VR game prompted Kottka to organise brainstorming sessions to determine the type of game to be developed. The decision to create an escape room-type, puzzle-solving gaming product was finalised.

Kottka elaborated regarding working on the development phase, stating that he and his team were quite enthusiastic regarding creating a VR game.

Augmented reality and virtual reality games are yet to gain mass popularity in comparison to conventional gaming experiences, immersive technology forms are witnessing significant developments. Virtual reality is still quite a new platform for developing games. – Joshua Kottka

Jonathan Renninger, who had operated as lead programmer of the project, stated that getting familiar with the fundamentals and intricacies of VR programming was the highlight of the experience. He revealed that he had to give considerable effort into researching and knowing the processes of programming virtual reality elements and environments.

According to Renninger, the development process included creating a series of puzzles, each of which takes players to complete a step of the escape. He cites the example of a bookcase which players must interact with to arrange its books in a particular order.

“Breakout High”, developed by Kottka and Renninger, is the first project that duo has worked on for a client.

Following his graduation from IUPUI on May 11, Kottka has revealed his plans to apply for internships at various gaming studios across the USA. He stated that his goal is to continue making games and experiences following his graduation.

Kottka believes that his contribution to the “Breakout High” programme will help him gain an advantage when it comes to following his goals. According to him, his year-long role as project manager on “Breakout High” will give a boost to his resume.

Renninger also stated that the “Breakout High” development experience will make his professional portfolio stronger.

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