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Computer science majors design video game, police reporting system

Senior Alex Hoffman, “Project Oriana” programmer, tests Princess Oriana’s movement and animation on a flight of stairs. Photo by Christian Herrera

Senior Alex Hoffman, “Project Oriana” programmer, tests Princess Oriana’s movement and animation on a flight of stairs.
Photo by Christian Herrera

Two teams of senior computer science majors — respectively led by Blake Hughes and Alex Weiland — are in the process of designing a role-playing video game and a computerized police reporting system as a replacement for the current procedure for their senior projects.

As manager, Hughes facilitates the development of the game titled “Project Oriana”, which features the main character, Princess Oriana, and her dream world. Wandering about through the realm, gamers must endure combat and solve different puzzles.

Although required to log a minimum of nine hours a week, Hughes said it is normal for them to invest overtime, sacrificing early mornings, lunch hours, free time and weekends, even pulling all-nighters. However, Hughes said his team has maintained a positive attitude through the grueling work.

“It’s been a really ambitious project, but we’ve definitely learned a lot from the project,” Hughes said. “And some of us have even talked about — just for fun — making some stuff together on the side after we get through college.”

The team said students shouldn’t expect “Project Oriana” to officially release as it is a game being developed solely for the experience and for the seniors to showcase in a portfolio after graduation.

This is menu programmer Sydney Frandsen’s second senior project —  the first being the Forester app developed last year — due to a major switch her sophomore year.

Frandsen said she loves having the extra experience.

“I’m able to contribute a lot more this year, and so I think there’s more expectation on me in this project than last year,” Frandsen said. “On one hand, there’s a lot more work to do, but also it’s a lot more fun to kind of get my hands dirty with the project this semester.”

The campus police reporting system, intended to be ready for Barry Cochran, director of campus police, is expected to be finalized by next school year.

Weiland said the goal is to make the reporting process smoother and timely for campus police. The new system will improve the effectiveness of police reports on campus. The current process campus police follow include hand writing reports, returning to the station and typing the report onto a Word document. With the team’s application, police can create reports immediately via provided iPads.

Cochran described the current system as “extremely inefficient” and time consuming. He expects this project will aid with timeliness as campus police will be able to make reports from wherever they are and fill out the whole incident form on the iPad.

Referring to Alex Weiland and his team, Cochran said, “They’ve been great. Working with the guys has went well, and we’re really looking forward to the new system.”

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