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Colosseum was originally the end result of my MFA thesis project for the Computer Graphics Design program at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) School of Design. It is a PC video game modification consisting of a series of custom levels (maps) and custom art assets that is powered by the Quake3/Jedi Outcast engine (for more information see technology). The game is a single-player adventure that attempts to combine the violent nature of videogames with an interactive educational experience. Following is my original proposal for my MFA thesis:

Kill, Maim and Learn:
Exploiting Violent Entertainment to Educate and Entertain

Thesis Proposal for the Master of Fine Arts Degree
Rochester Institute of Technology, School of Design
Computer Graphics Design
Submitted by Jake Keating Fall 2002


Contemporary computer games containing brutally violent subject matter routinely outsell those that are more cerebral or intellectual in nature. Can an interactive experience be created that caters to audiences that seek both visceral thrills and intellectual stimulation?


I propose the creation of an interactive 3D environment that accurately captures the historical setting of the ancient Roman Coliseum, a birthplace of violent entertainment. Users of the game will assume the role of a Roman gladiator and will be required to engage in battle with other characters and explore the game’s surroundings. In the process of completing the game, users will also be exposed to facts and trivia about their environment, providing an added educational benefit to the traditional gaming experience.


To experiment with a professional-grade game engine and 3D development environment.
To determine if users find the added information useful or distracting.
To determine if users of the game retain the information and trivia presented.

Final Project

The game will be a fully navigable and interactive 3D environment that will allow the user to navigate areas of the Roman Coliseum from both a first-person and third-person perspective. A variety of methods will be available to do battle with game characters that will attempt to recreate the actual gladiatorial games of Ancient Rome. Trivia and information presented will include facts related to architecture, politics, sociology as well as several Latin phrases.

The game will be distributed on CD-ROM for PC and targeted at males and females between the ages of 18-34. Although all 3D models, 2D artwork, sound and environment architecture will be custom-made, the game will be developed using a derivative of the Quake 3 engine as its core.

This engine is an open platform that allows third-party designers to create custom 3D game levels for experimental purposes (not for profit or commercial distribution). The engine does the actual rendering of the game and handles critical details such as physics, weather, lighting, artificial intelligence, user controls and basic animations. The final project will require the installation of a retail Quake 3 game product in order to utilize the game engine and function properly

All visual and aural assets of the game will be developed using a combination of software packages and hand-drawn media. Crucial software includes, but is not limited to, Adobe Photoshop, Discreet 3DS Max and GtkRadiant (a level editor for Quake 3-based games).

  © 2002-2003 Jake Keating