August 24, 2017

Custom Whiskered Away Xbox Controllers Made By Local Startup

Whiskered-Away indie game

The Phoenix Global Game Jam returned to UAT for the second consecutive year in January, bringing game developers from all over the Valley to our campus. UAT Game Studios students came out in full force forming small teams and collaborating their skills to make a playable game in just 48 hours.

The result was over 20 completed indie games revolving around the theme of waves, which gave team “Whiskered Away” a fun idea for a 2D party game. See the most recent trailer here.

Whiskered Away game development team

Whiskered Away game development team

Picture a beach with cute, colorful cats collecting shiny coins, but this treasure belongs to Poseidon. The goal of gameplay is to avoid being caught in the sea, as Poseidon makes waves to capture them in the sea’s current. On the flip side, if the cats win the coins from Poseidon, he will be teased by laughing dolphins.

So how do you play Whiskered Away? The game requires four wired Xbox 360 controllers which gave the team another idea! Game Programming student Noah Stumpf said, “We wanted to have a good showing at GDC. Professor Ben Reichert connected us with local company Evil Controllers, who custom wrapped our Xbox controllers. It definitely helped attract more people to play our game.”

Art and Animation student Audrey McEvoy created the controller art concept you see below. The team loved it and sent the ideas to Evil Controllers just in time to be completed for GDC.

Whiskered Away Custom Controller

Whiskered Away Custom Controller

Game designer Kenny Ryan said, “The game jam was a great experience for all of us collaborating with each of our different disciplines. Some of us had worked together before, but never this close and it was such a blast! We are extremely excited that the whole team will be attending and we plan to make the most of our GDC trip.”

Whiskered Away at GDC

Whiskered Away at GDC

Overall the mission was to make a fun, playable, finished game and Whiskered Away met their goal and then some. Whiskered Away won the Game Jam’s grand prize, which were passes and a booth at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco last February. This was a substantial experience for young game developers to showcase and market their game at the largest conference in the game development industry.

Here is a demo of the staff at Evil Controllers playing Whiskered Away with the cool, custom controllers.

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