Game about time travel won the competition of games developed by students from FEE

For students

The game Sweep to the Past, in which the player travels through time and tries to influence the future, won the competition of projects by students of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering of CTU. The winning team, consisting of Eliška Rojíčková, Filip Houdek, Milan Němeček, and Matěj Havel, succeeded in the competition of 12 other student groups that took the Computer Games course. The presentation of the projects, which took place in January in the Zenger Auditorium in the FEE building on Charles Square, and the winning trailers can be seen here.

"These are semester-long projects, typically by students who are starting in computer games and graphics," said Associate Professor Jiří Bittner from the Department of Computer Graphics and Interaction at the FEE CTU. Associatte Professor Bittner is a lecturer of the course and a guarantor of the bachelor specialization in Computer Games and Graphics. He pointed out that the six best projects emerged from a wide voting process and were judged by an expert jury composed of representatives of academia and game studios. In the Computer Games course, students of FEE CTU will go through all aspects of game development - from concept creation and design to programming of game mechanisms to the actual presentation of their work.

"It's a 2D platform game where the main feature of the player is that he can travel through time. So our story takes place in different timelines, where we play with the idea that the past will influence the future," said co-creator Eliška Rojíčková about the winning game Sweep to the Past. The "hero" of Sweep to the Past is Bob, a janitor who gains the ability to travel through time by accident after touching special substances in a high-security laboratory. However, this change is not to the liking of the scientists at the lab, according to Eliška Rojíčková. So Bob tries to escape the lab.

Eliška Rojíčková pointed out that the game is in a comic book style, which aims to draw players into the storyline. In addition to time travel through a portal leading to the recent past as well as medieval catacombs and the future, the team also designed the game mechanics to include carrying crates, opening doors, life-threatening laser beams, as well as planting and growing trees. These can serve the main character in the future significantly in his quest for freedom. The game has three levels and the four-person team devoted a total of around 600 hours of work to it.

Adventures below the surface

The silver was won by the team of Jana Kyllerova, Patrik Kolar, Kateřina Špotová, and Tri Thien Trang Pham with the title Official Flower Business. The game takes players underground - and deep underground at that. "It's a 2D topdown shooter of the roguelike genre, in which you play as a sad, unwatered flower that one day accidentally drinks Red Bull and comes back to life," team member Jana Kyllerová described. The flower decides to search for water in a well, which she fails to do but encounters many enemies. "She tries to fight them because they are after her and want to rip off her petals. The flower has weapons at her disposal with which she can shoot at them. The flower is fighting her way deeper and deeper and the enemies are getting tougher, so somehow the flower has to upgrade her weapons and play to defeat them," Kyller said. 

Official Flower Business has three layouts. "You start on dirt, then you have rock and lava," Kyller noted during her presentation. While doing so, players face obstacles such as slow-motion traps, as well as slugs, earthworms, and exploding elements. For every enemy killed, the flower receives a drop of water, allowing it to upgrade its abilities. On the other hand, after losing all the lives available to the player, it's over. Regarding the time it took to develop the game, Kyllerová said that each person on the team gave her roughly 80 to 90 hours of work.

The third place went to the team of Kryštof Buben, Milan Jiříček, Matěj Vlček and Jan Lukeš with the title Overclocked. "Overclocked is so so-called Couch party game. This means that it is ideal for playing with more people, for example in the living room in front of the TV etc. Players take on the role of Chip champs, who are tasked with handling user tasks and managing various peripherals," said Milan Jiříček. He explained that the "chip champs" will be given a time-limited task. "So the players have to coordinate to complete the task on time. They take data from the inputs, which they first have to decode, then they have to process it as the task requires, and finally, they have to combine the data and put the result on the correct output," the student added. According to him, the players have to act fast or the tasks will pile up and start wasting their lives.

According to Jiricek, the game took the team about 300 hours to develop. "Although we received a beautiful bronze place, the game still has a lot of work ahead of it. The mentors and practitioners helped us find some bugs and also gave us feedback. In the future we would like to improve the game and add new maps and functionalities," Jiříček summarized. The members of the gold and bronze teams want to continue to develop the games. 

All the winning teams are students of the Open Informatics programme. Students in the Open Informatics have the opportunity to choose to specialize in Computer Games and Graphics as part of their studies. However, the Computer Games course is open to all students from CTU. 

The Department of Computer Graphics and Interaction at the FEE CTU also has a student game studio OI SIDE since 2022, where students focus on game development and discussions about game development. It aims to enable them to develop collaborative game projects beyond their studies and prospectively represent the faculty on the gaming scene.

Photos: Petr Neugebauer

Responsible person Ing. Mgr. Radovan Suk