Daniel Carr recently won an award for Best Student Game at the recent Independent Games Festival in San Francisco. Daniel Carr recently won an award for Best Student Game at the recent Independent Games Festival in San Francisco.
Daniel Carr accepts the award for Best Student Game at the Independent Game Festival. (photo sent)
From an early age, Daniel Carr knew exactly what he wanted to do when he grew up.
“When I was in elementary school and they asked me, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ my answer was a game developer,” she said.
In his last semester at Tech before graduating with a degree in computer science, Carr won Best Student Game at the Independent Game Festival (IGF) in San Francisco for his adventure game, Slider.
He began studying game development in high school, which led him to participate in a game jam, a competition that tasks participants with creating a game from scratch in a short amount of time. Although he did not find immediate success in his first contest, Carr pressed on.
The game, a PC title in which players solve puzzles and rearrange maps to help reconnect humanity, grew out of a competition in November 2021. The game received positive feedback after the jam, and though Carr felt there was more to do, almost letting the project fall by the wayside.
“I remember that on the road there were many doubts in me,” he recalled. “I asked myself: ‘Should I see this through to the end?’ I remember someone told me that you have to trust yourself at the beginning of the vision that you set for yourself because as you work on it, you will doubt yourself a lot. And, I just did that and kept working on it.”
Reaching out to the tech community for help, Carr submitted the game to the Georgia Tech Video Game Development Club (VGDev) in January 2022. Work on the game continued for the next two semesters and they shipped Slider to IGF, which receives over 600 entries, later that year. Carr and the team weren’t expecting an answer, but to their surprise, in early January, they were named one of six finalists in the student category.
Over spring break, Carr and six other VGDev members went to San Francisco for the conference. Carr still didn’t think winning was a possibility, so when Slider was announced during the award ceremony, I was really surprised. He took the stage and reflected on the hard work nearly 30 people put into developing the game over the years.
While winning was the highlight of the trip, Carr was equally captivated by the universal language of the games.
“One of the best things was seeing how much of an international community there is around game development – there were all kinds of games from European countries, Latin America and all over the world. Everyone is making games.”
A playable demo of Slider is available on Steam, and Carr plans to leave the hotlink during development in hopes of expanding the game’s reach. As someone who grew up with PC games, he knows that the platform is accessible to a wide audience. Despite recent praise, he explains that the game is not a finished product, but on his own advice, he plans to trust his vision and continue working on it.
With a degree in hand, Carr is now interning at Amazon and will return to Tech in the fall to earn his master’s degree in computational intelligence. He plans to keep game development as a hobby for now, but admits that he will never close the door on pursuing it as a career in the future.