Fourth grade is hard enough without having a puzzle box for a head, but that doesn’t stop Tessa as she explores school after hours. Enter the world of “Tessallation,” a single-player, co-op game that follows Tessa as she tries to solve puzzles with the help of other characters. Yet, these aren’t your typical supporting characters—they are past and future versions of Tessa herself. “Tessa’s ability uses time travel to revisit that point in time where you would need another person to complete a task,” explains Christopher Klein (CDM ’13), designer and environmental artist for “Tessallation.”
Over the course of 15 weeks, David Bayzer (CDM ’13), Sean Cannata (CDM ’13), Graham Gilreath (CDM ’13), Klein, Kristen Lambert (CDM ’13) and Eric Spevacek (CDM ’13) developed “Tessallation” as part of Assistant Professor Brian Schrank’s senior capstone class. “Game development is an iterative process—ideas, perspectives, art … everything is constantly changing in the beginning,” explains Klein. “Teamwork is what mattered in the end.” The team was rewarded for its efforts by being nominated for a 2013 Unity Award. Although “Tessallation” didn’t take home the award for Best Student Project, the group made valuable connections at the ceremony in Vancouver, British Columbia. “Many of the Unity developers were awesome and liked what we were doing,” remembers Klein. “We learned that we are onto something … something that many young developers rarely get to hear. We know what people like and/or want, and it means the world to us.”
Post-graduation, Klein and the rest of the “Tessallation” team apply their knowledge to the game development world through various full-time and contract-based positions. Klein credits DePaul with preparing students for the world outside the classroom. “DePaul is very good at harboring a welcoming and tough environment, but if you don’t push yourself to make new and cool stuff, you can become general,” he explains. “[Employers] want outstanding and radical people,” Klein adds. The “Tessallation” team proved themselves to be just that with their unique and quirky take on time travel.
Learn more about DePaul’s top-rated game development program in the summer issue of DePaul Magazine.