Skip to main content
Back to top

The anticipation and excitement game developers experience when presenting their game is a moment unlike any other, and that’s what students at DigiPen Europe-Bilbao felt when they participated in the annual vertical slice presentation on December 15. After months of collaborative work, student game teams enthusiastically presented their projects in a visually pleasing and functioning state for the first time.

This highly anticipated event provided a unique opportunity for budding game developers to unveil what they’ve been working on in within the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation and the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Art and Animation degree programs. The presentations offered a sneak peek into the innovative world of game development, showcasing the creativity that will culminate in fully-fledged games set to be published this upcoming May.

This year’s game lineup unveiled a mesmerizing array of genres, such as the captivating worlds of real-time survival strategy, adventurous platforming, and exhilarating multiplayer racing.

What Is a Vertical Slice?

A vertical slice in game development refers to a fully realized portion of a game that includes elements from all its facets, giving everyone involved a comprehensive view of the final product’s potential. At DigiPen Europe-Bilbao, these presentations are a crucial milestone for students, marking the transition from conceptualization to tangible, playable experiences.

It all starts with an engine proof followed by a prototype presentation, then comes the vertical slice. Development continues with a first playable demo, an alpha, a beta, and finally going gold. This cycle allows students to navigate a journey of ideation, collaborative development, and iterative refinement alongside their instructors.

  • Concept art from Stellar Veins, offering a mesmerizing isometric view of a real-time fantasy battle.


  • Concept art from Stellar Veins, exploring diverse environments and formidable enemies in imaginative detail.


  • Spirit character and altar design concept art from the second-year game Zima Polaris, showcasing creative and mystical elements.


  • Final design of Misu, the fox main character in the game Zima Polaris, featuring a captivating and well-defined appearance.


Game and Class Expectations

Symbiotic work across disciplines is what makes projects shine. To that end, each class entails its own complexities and responsibilities. For instance, students in GAM 200 and GAM 300 are engaged in the meticulous process of constructing their game engines from scratch, employing C++ and various libraries. Over the past few months, they dedicated their efforts to coding the physics, graphics, animation systems, and the editor, among other components. Additionally, the technology developed by GAM 200 students lends support to artists in PRJ 202 who integrate 2D assets into the game, having previously animated them with Spine.

  • Engine and editor concept from Chaos For Sale, with Visual Studio in the background, highlighting the behind-the-scenes development process.


  • 3D editor screenshot of Crash and Burn, displaying the racing track from a top-down perspective alongside various editing tools.


GAM 400 and PRJ 402 students confront the formidable challenge of Unreal Engine 5, a globally recognized engine celebrated for its multifaceted capabilities. Acquiring proficiency in this tool demands a specific skill set, one that prepares them to enter full-production mode for the upcoming spring semester.

  • A mouse, the protagonist of Mouseventures, curiously observing a temple in a desert setting.
  • The Mouseventures protagonist, a mouse, engaged in puzzle-solving inside a temple, involving the manipulation of sun and moon elements.
  • In-game screenshot of the current state of the fourth-year project Strategy Game, featuring a monk in a turn-based strategy setting, providing a glimpse into the game's strategic depth.

In contrast, GAM 100 projects deviate from this norm, constituting semester-long endeavors initiated this past fall semester. Students dedicated ten weeks to working on Unity, culminating in the development of a final playable product.

In-game screenshot from the GAM 100 project Tree of Doom, a captivating 2D top-down roguelike adventure.

See our Anatomy of a Game Team article series for in-depth exploration of each year in a student game team’s development.

Upcoming Student Games and High Concepts

Students team up to bring their visions to life by taking on roles across various disciplines, including programming, art, music and sound design, game design, and production. Vertical slice presentations serve as a platform for these interdisciplinary teams to share their progress with peers, faculty, and staff, fostering an environment of collaboration and feedback.

For the 2023-24 academic year, several student game teams participated in the vertical slice presentation. Each game project is still in development and pending multiple iterations. All content is subject to change in the future.

Vertical Slice Presentations
Game DetailsHigh Concept


Game Team: Handicapped Studios
Courses: GAM 100
Top-down shooter with bullet hell gameplay. Collect money to upgrade life and weapons. Manage bullets to survive waves.

Lost Island

Game Team: Pixel Office
Courses: GAM 100
2D side-scrolling platformer with extreme conditions and enemies. Find the hidden island treasure using weapons and power-ups across levels.

Sword of Destiny

Game Team: Sofni Studios
Courses: GAM 100
2D side-scrolling Metroidvania. Explore maps, defeat enemies, and free Frenic’s people from a dark wizard’s control.

Tree of Doom

Game Team: Chicxel’s Lab
Courses: GAM 100
Top-down roguelike fantasy action RPG. Level up, explore dungeons, shop upgrades and abilities, and face a final boss.

Wildhaven Woods

Game Team: Caffeine Productions
Courses: GAM 100
Top-down procedurally generated roguelike with combat and puzzles. Choose a character, navigate stages, and upgrade through an election system after each level.

Stellar Veins

Game Team: Bigotters
Courses: GAM 200, PRJ 202
Real-time survival strategy in a 2D isometric view. On a hostile planet, create a new home for a robot civilization on the brink of extinction.

Zima Polaris

Game Team: Mousetrap Studios
Courses: GAM 200, PRJ 202
Adventure puzzle-solving platformer. Climb a mountain using a hook and seek the aid of mountain spirits to fulfill the character’s wish.

Chaos for Sale

Game Team: POG Studios
Courses: GAM 300
A single player or cooperative 3D isometric view arcade game set in a supermarket. Deliver requested products in time, using punches, kicks, and throws.

Crash and Burn

Game Team: Psycho Party
Courses: GAM 300
Multiplayer racing game where players aim to destroy opponents until the last one remains standing.

Race Against Time

Game Team: DigiPals Motoworks
Courses: GAM 400, PRJ 402
Multi-era tournament features racers from past, present, and future. Compete for gold, hinder opponents using energy and items for victory.


Game Team: Fondue Games
Courses: GAM 400, PRJ 402
Puzzle-adventure third-person game with a stuffed mouse protagonist. Dive into the owner’s books, interact with characters, and solve puzzles to complete each tale’s happy ending.

Slap That

Game Team: Slap Us
Courses: GAM 400, PRJ 402
Chaotic first-person “slapper.” Navigate through enemies and obstacles, creating a path by slapping them to progress.

Strategy Game

Game Team: Team Strategy
Courses: GAM 400, PRJ 402
Turn-based strategy. Guide a medieval monk and command minions in battles against hordes of monstrous enemies for survival.

Preparing for Publication

With the spring semester on the horizon, the final step of game completion is easier said than done. Armed with valuable feedback and a clearer understanding of their project’s strengths and risks, students will approach the upcoming months with renewed energy and purpose. The focus will be on refining and polishing their games for the final release.

Elsewhere, first-year students will engage in a new project within GAM 150, utilizing an internally developed 2D C-based bare-bones engine. This experience aims to familiarize them with continuing to work closely with technology, emphasizing a hands-on approach over reliance on user interfaces.

How do you stay up to date on these new game projects and concepts? Keep an eye on social media for updates as we eagerly anticipate the release of these game projects in May.