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October 1, 2019

Student’s Retro Fighting Game Knocks ‘Em Out on Research Day

Paul Maurantonio Designing Video Game

Paul Maurantonio works with Lee Stemkoski, PhD, who was the faculty sponsor for his award-winning video game.

Senior Paul Maurantonio has always loved playing video games. Now, after designing his own major in multimedia and video game development, he gets to make them.

For Adelphi’s annual Research Conference in April 2019, Maurantonio presented Super Duper Fighting Game, a 2D, retro-style fighting game. The project won an Outstanding Presentation Award in the Computer Science and Game Development category. Maurantonio was guided by Lee Stemkoski, PhD, professor of math and computer science.

“I’ve been a huge fan of fighting games for a long time, like classic Nintendo and Street Fighter games,” Maurantonio said. “I really wanted to make a simple, inspired version. I wanted to see if I could actually do it.”

Super Duper Fighting Game pits two players against each other. They can choose from more than 10 attacks to damage the other player. Once a player loses two rounds, the opposing player wins.

Maurantonio spent his junior year working on the game. He used a game editor called Construct 2 to build the code, having learned the program in an Adelphi course.

“It’s really gratifying to know that I can actually implement my ideas and see what I was imagining,” Maurantonio said. “I can say, ‘I want the player to shoot fireballs and do an uppercut at the same time,’ and make it happen.”

Maurantonio used an animation program called Sprite Something to create temporary, stick-figure visuals for the Research Conference presentation. Going forward, he plans to increase the number of playable characters and custom attacks, and to flesh out his visuals.

Paul Maurantonio's Super Duper Fighting Game

Though only a work in progress, Maurantonio’s game showed fans at Research Day where the project is headed.

At the Research Conference, Maurantonio invited people to play the game on a TV screen that was attached to his computer. They used remotes to control their players.

“Research Day was awesome,” he said. “A good amount of people came over and tried out my game. They gave really good feedback, so I was actually able to improve on what I made.”

Maurantonio has since incorporated feedback to improve menu navigation and added tutorials for certain commands.

“From a game designer’s perspective, that’s the goal: You want to be able to have anyone jump in and enjoy the game—from someone who really likes games to someone who doesn’t, regardless of how much experience they’ve had.”

The game caught the eye of Matthew Wright, PhD, associate professor and chair of the Department of Physics and co-chair of the Research Day Committee.

“Here was this thing that was being built from the ground up that was complex and detailed; you could see how it was going to be amazing,” Dr. Wright said. “Only bits and pieces were there, but enough to remind me of all those hours playing video games as a kid.”

Maurantonio continues to create new video games and brainstorm ideas for the 2020 Research Day.


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