HOUGHTON - When the Husky Game Development Enterprise formed at Michigan Technological University in 2004, one of its main goals was to get a video game sold.
While it may have taken a little longer than its founders hoped, HGD can now boast of a game available on Microsoft's XBox Live Indie Marketplace. For around $3 - or 240 XBox points - gamers can now play something developed locally at Michigan Tech titled "Arcane Brawlers."
"It started out as any other HGD project does," game creator and Tech graduate Ryan Wilson said. "We envisioned a game we wanted to create, we got a team together and we started working on it."
The Enterprise, which is underneath the umbrella of the university yet is run similar to a business, had designed several games over the years but none of them had really seen the light of day. Wilson aimed to change that.
"The push was we were one of the first teams to do an XBox game and we really wanted to get it sold for money because that's kind of what a business is supposed to do," Wilson said. "I'm pretty proud of that, being the first team leader to actually get a team published and sold for money; it's not a lot, but it's a step in the right direction."
Wilson is quick to divvy out credit to his team, however, as he had a lot of help throughout the approximately two years of work to get "Arcane Brawlers" out.
"I designed it and was team leader and did the management stuff but (my team) did all the hard work in creating the game," Wilson said.
After the game was fully developed, Wilson and his team submitted it for an arduous review process by Microsoft. The game is peer reviewed relentlessly and anytime a bug is found, the game must be resubmitted. The third time proved to be the charm, however, and HGD had its first sold game.
"Arcane Brawlers was a great kickoff for the rest of the Enterprise," HGD President Gabrielle Myers said. "They saw it was possible to get your game out there."
The purpose of "Arcane Brawlers" is not a complicated one, which was the intention, Wilson said.
"The whole point is it's a local multiplayer game, where you and your friends can sit down in front of the XBox," Wilson said. "There's only one level, one screen, and it loads up every player as a wizard and they get to combine different elements to make spells. The spells get cast at their friends in order to destroy them in various ways."
Seeing the entertainment people have taken from the game made the whole process worth it for Wilson.
"That was the best part, seeing other people having fun playing a game I made," he said.
The game development process helped Wilson attain a job locally with GE Aviation as a software engineer. HGD on the whole is a great experience builder, Myers said, and is more than just students designing games for course credit.
"Students get to choose the engine they want to use, and there's team leaders that get to make the project themselves," Myers said. "It's a valuable opportunity to get their foot in the door in the gaming industry or just any team software or team development industry that you don't get in the classroom."