TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The controllers are coming out again, and the meeting space is as virtual as the subject. This weekend, the Rensselaer GameFest student video game development showcase returns to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

GameFest returns this Saturday at 2 p.m. The annual showcase gives student game developers a chance in the spotlight, giving visitors the chance to play games, meet developers, watch presentations and attend an award ceremony.

Due to COVID-19 concerns, the event will be run through AltspaceVR, an entirely virtual platform. Audiences can tune in from their PC, or from the Oculus Rift or Vive virtual reality gaming headset systems. The event is free and open to the public.

“GameFest is a celebration of the innovation and creativity of the next generation of game designers,” said Ben Chang, professor of arts and the director of the Games and Simulations Arts and Sciences (GSAS) program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. “Games come to life when people play them. This is the moment when the code and art, writing and music, all come together, when the game meets the public. We hope that you can all join the students as they show off their hard work.”

This weekend’s showcase will feature more than 30 video games designed by undergraduate and graduate students teams from across New York. A variety of awards will be given, including prizes in Analog Game Design, Excellence in Audio, Excellence in Narrative, Excellence in Visual Art, Technical Excellence, Impact and an overall Grand Prize.

The event also includes student research presentations. Talks will explore topics of critical game design study, including the Metaverse and the rise of the eSports industry in China. A full schedule can be found online.

GameFest is supported by Rensselaer Center of Excellence in Digital Game Development, part of Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation. The event is also sponsored by area video game studios including Blizzard Entertainment, Velan Studios, 1st Playable Productions and PUBG:MadGlory.