Combat Colors

Anyone who remembers the 1970’s Atari classic video game “Combat” will enjoy a new game developed by interactive media professors Ethan Ham and Scott Cavanah. Called “BvR,” the straight-forward shooter is a two-player game where each player wears tinted glasses, one pair in red and the other in blue.

“It’s two tanks in a maze, trying to shoot each other,” said Cavanah, who also serves as the department’s associate chair. “The difference with ours is, because of the color mechanic, you’ve got two players playing on the same screen at the same time, but they're seeing two different things.”

He added the rules for play are easy to pick up, regardless of age, nor does it take a high level of knowledge or dexterity. It can work on either Mac or PC, but the players need to have game controllers, like the kind found on a PlayStation or Xbox, and the tinted glasses.

The pair have shown BvR at a couple of game festivals and at a museum in Akron, Ohio. At the moment, there are no plans for distribution.

“It's been as much a passion project/art project as anything we thought would be commercially viable,” said Ham, the department’s chair. “Having millions of people play it and make some money was never really our thought … For me, it was that the tools we use and teach with keep changing so doing projects like this allows me to keep my skills up to date.”

You can see a video demonstration of BvR here.

— S.L. Guthrie M.A. ’20