Engineering Students Host Virtual Graduation Ceremony Inside Video Game They Created

By: Marie McCarthy

The coronavirus outbreak has canceled university and college classes around the country and stolen a precious moment from millions: graduation day.

Even though commencement was canceled, it didn’t stop the University of Utah’s engineering students from celebrating in a very special way.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that engineering students built a virtual graduation ceremony inside a video game, complete with personalized avatars for students and professors.

Graduates from the Entertainment Arts & Engineering program could jump, hug their friends, and walk across the stage in the augmented space that was designed to mirror campus buildings. The ceremony was complete with music and speeches, and the whole event was streamed over Twitch for friends and family to watch.

The local newspaper reports that the game design took just three weeks, a feat that is very difficult due to the need for multiplayer capacity on a public server.

University of Utah offers two gaming bachelor degrees; Bachelor of Science in Games degree, which encompasses topics like simulation, edutainment, visualization and design, and Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, which fuses knowledge of computation with game arts.

On the school’s website, they say “we’ve brought together a diverse faculty with expertise in every facet of game development and consulted with top industry professionals to create a one-of-a-kind learning experience.”

Their graduates have landed at prestigious places such as Apple, Ubisoft, Warner Brothers, Nintendo, Facebook, Amazon, Disney and DreamWorks.