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Student-designed game chosen for international conference

Umbrella Mondays was created in yearlong capstone class

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Menomonie, Wis. (October 31, 2018) – A young girl awakes one morning to find green rain falling. Curious, she’s led to a journal that starts her on a journey into a mystical world – and possibly the answer to the green rain and her lost past.

The girl’s adventure, filled with fire spirits, a crumbling mansion, hazards, puzzles and interesting village characters along the way, is the basis for Umbrella Mondays, a video game created by 10 UW-Stout students.

The game has been chosen for the International Academic Conference on Meaningful Play Thursday to Saturday, Oct. 11-13, at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich. Several students from the team will be there to showcase their work and give a presentation as part of the conference’s exhibition and competition. The conference explores ways to “understand and improve upon games to entertain, inform, educate and persuade in meaningful ways.”

Umbrella Mondays is the fourth game created by UW-Stout students selected to compete at an international event.

Umbrella Mondays was created by a team of students in instructor Karl Koehle’s 3D Game Design and Development capstone class. Five students are from the game design Bachelor of Fine Arts, which is art-focused, and five from game design in computer science. The goal of the capstone project is to create a 3D game over the course of one academic year.

Koehle said the students’ work was high quality, which is reflected in Umbrella Mondays being chosen for the conference. One student created a special language for the game, for example.

“I am impressed with the amount of detail that went into the project. There are subtle details like having rain splash onto the main character’s raincoat which turns the surface shiny.” Koehle said.

“Having the game accepted at the conference shows that we have a lot of talented artists and programmers who are creating some thoughtful games,” he added.

Game team members are:
* Margaret Clarke, of Sheboygan, art lead
* Mary Flaherty, of Minneapolis, artist
* Casey Holman, of Minneapolis, programming lead
* Maria Kastello, of Muskego, programmer
* April Lewer, of Marshfield, design lead
* Travis Ott, of Chanhassen, Minn., programmer
* Spencer Peloquin, of Minneapolis, programmer
* Evan Schweighart, of Glenview, Ill., artist
* Jacob Sutherland, of Solon Springs, artist
* Bob Vogt, of St. Cloud, Minn., writer, narrative designer

Students worked with three other professors: John Spartz and Cody Reimer at the UW-Stout User Experience Center to test how other students played the game and collect insights from their response; independent students from Mary Spaeth’s business class to create a business plan.

Music and the sounds for Umbrella Mondays were created by students at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Koehle said, part of an ongoing UW-Stout game design collaboration with Berklee.

Independent game developers from Howling Moon Software and DevNAri also visited the class to share experiences working in the field.

Umbrella Mondays made its debut in April at the Stout Game Expo on campus. The next Stout Game Expo, featuring video, board and other games created by students is scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12.

UW-Stout’s game design programs were ranked 24th nationally in 2018 by Princeton Review, and the graduate program was ranked 18th.

UW-Stout is Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University, with a focus on applied learning, collaboration with business and industry, and career outcomes.

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Umbrella Mondays revolves around the mysterious adventures of a young girl.


Bottom: The Umbrella Mondays team, back row from left, Travis Ott, Jacob Sutherland, Evan Schweighart and Spencer Peloquin. Middle, April Lewer, Bob Vogt and Margaret Clarke. Front, Mary Flaherty, Maria Kastello and Casey Holman.


Karl Koehle


Umbrella Mondays