kid using vr video games

Several UCF College of Arts and Humanities departments, schools, faculty and students are presenting at Otronicon, a showcase and celebration of innovations in technology. Since its launch in 2006, Otronicon (short for Orlando Electronic Interactive Entertainment Convention) has explored the science, art, technology, careers and fun behind simulation, robotics, videogames, virtual reality and digital media. In its partnerships with big-name tech leaders in the Orlando community, Otronicon offers opportunities and experiences to spark interest in STEAM careers.

The convention includes booths, events, and workshops Friday through Monday. View the full schedule here.

Involvement from the college includes:


The 5th Otronicon Game Jam is an event that challenges game designers and filmmakers to create an experience using the Cozmo robot in teams formed on-site. After just over 30 hours of creative design and implementation, Game Jam judges will pick a team whose work best showcases the Cozmo robots capabilities.

Get the chance to play the winner of the IITSEC’s Serious Games Showcase Innovation Award, Tootin’ Pooches! A collaboration between SVAD students and Limbitless Solutions, this multi-player game is more accessible than video games that use controllers for those without hands or limbs. The game also helps identify key muscles utilizing in preparing future recipients of 3-D printed Limbitless bionic limbs. 4-8 players will play as various dogs in two teams who compete to fetch and return the most balls on the field in a time limit. Players will learn how to cooperate by defending their teammates and knocking the ball away from their opponents. This takes place in a chaotic environment, so players can expect a lot of fun in the process. This was originally developed at the Indie Galactic Space Jam in 2017.


  • “Creating Digital ART for VR Experiences”

Saturday – 2:30pm; Sunday – 10:30am

Nick Zuccarello and recent FIEA grads Hezekiah Olopade, Brian Foye, Anthony Ballinas, Michael Reckoff will take a behind the scenes look at some of the various tools and techniques that are used to generate real-time assets for Virtual Reality. See digital model building, digital painting and digital sculpting in the computer. These tools and processes will lead into a final viewing of the real-time asset in a VR Experience. The VR Experience is an exciting and interactive escape room type of adventure set in the time and place of an Ancient Egyptian Tomb. This talk will be both an art and technical talk, with a heavier emphasis on art. The experience will be a room scale full body experience.

  • FIEA: Thinking Like a Computer: Artificial Intelligence for Games

Friday – 12:30pm; Saturday – 10:30am

Ever wonder how a computer plays a game? From Tic-Tac-Toe, to Chess, to Call of Duty, computers are adept at playing games – and getting better. Come learn with Dr. Paul Varcholik about artificial intelligence in games, have fun, and experience thinking like a computer!

  • FIEA: Farm Follows Function: Playing with Programming

Saturday – 12:30pm; Sunday – 2:30pm

Robots are the farmers of the future!  Come and play a video game where you must program a bot to harvest your crops.  Recent FIEA grads Adnan Mirza, Carson Dolbier, and Michael Reckoff found that programming principles become far simpler down on the farm.  No prior experience required, but much will be gained.  We will also take you behind the scenes for what it takes to develop games that both teach well and play well.

  • How Building Legos is Like Building Games
    Friday – 3:30pm

Ever wondered what it feels like to develop a complex video game without having all the components figured out up front? This workshop with FIEA Technical Design Director Ron Weaver will show you what it feels like to be a game developer, struggling to create an intricate system without all of the pieces fully defined. And yes, there will be LEGOs.

The inaugural Press Play Conference, hosted by FIEA, hopes to inform and inspire more young women to pursue careers and educational opportunities in the video game industry and related industries. Sponsored by game producer Electronic Arts, high school and early college-age students will have the opportunity to learn from industry professionals and renowned UCF faculty members in workshops and sessions. Keynote speaker Sigurlína Ingvarsdóttir, senior producer at Electronic Arts, has been instrumental in launching two of EA’s most successful franchises.

The College of Sciences and SVAD collaboration with the UCF Arboretum will have a demonstration of their Virtual Arboretum Project prototype.

  • The Virtual UCF Arboretum Project
    Sunday – 4pm
    How do we learn to see the world? One method is to draw the world and create records of meaning, much as the botanists and naturalists, like Ernst Haeckel, did with their botanical illustrations of the last century. Today, with VR and 3D modeling technology, students of digital media at UCF are learning to become proficient and skilled in capturing reality, much like Leonardo da Vinci, in their process of building realistic environments of the natural world for a research project. The Virtual UCF Arboretum Project, a multidisciplinary collaboration between the School of Visual Arts and Design and the Department of Biology, is a digital media and research project combining website and virtual reality (VR) technology for STEM education. The website presents 3-D models of and information about plants and flowers found in the UCF Arboretum.

The UCF Institute for Simulation and Training is also participating throughout Otronicon with their E2i Creative Studio.

The convention runs Friday, January 12 – Monday, 15, 2018, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. each day.

General admission includes entry to all four floors of interactive Exhibit Galleries and Otronicon Experiences. Tickets are $20.95 daily for adults, $18.95 daily for students/seniors, $14.95 daily for kids (ages 3-11), and FREE daily for ages 2 and under. Orlando Science Center members can attend Otronicon for free under their membership. Purchase tickets and find out more information here.


For further updates about Otronicon, follow along on their Facebook.