people looking at computer screen
Windward Chicken Chasers!

Windward Community College has launched a fun, interactive web game created by four students from multiple University of Hawaiʻi campuses for fellow students to provide entertainment during a stressful time, organizational tools and a fun way to engage with the campus and its educational resources. Windward Chicken Chasers is now available on the Windward CC website. Although it is geared to Windward CC students, anyone can sign up to play the game. Firefox or Safari are recommended for the best viewing experience.

It all started during the COVID-19 pandemic. When normal work on campus at the Instructional Development Services office moved from physical production to digital, student employees began working from home. Their strengths and interests in digital art guided their vision into independent game development with the purpose of maintaining their student work and helping the Windward campus and its students.

Chase da chicken

Players become Windward CC students, who begin a new adventure and phase in life armed only with wits, knowledge and experiences. Game highlights include:

  • Customize your avatar. Dress to impress or de-stress.
  • Aloha shirt and slippahs? Sure!
  • English or Hawaiian? You choose the language.
  • It’s your digital campus. Explore!
  • To win coins and other loot, you must catch chickens, complete quests, grow kalo, check off IRL items on your in-game daily planner and more.
  • Buy clothes, furniture and accessories in the Mongoose Marketplace.
  • Decorate your room in the floating Sky Dorm. (Note: Windward CC does not have real-life dorms, sorry.)
U H W O student
Kawika Akioka
U H W O student
Dominic Buoni
U H W O student
Abby Worthley

Underpinnings of the game are based in the wahi pana (celebrated and storied places), as well as the legendary creatures and characters of the Windward side of Oʻahu.

“We hope everyone will enjoy playing Windward Chicken Chasers!” said Dominic Buoni, lead programmer and UH Mānoa Academy of Creative Media student. “I am inspired by the talent working on this game.”

The Windward Chicken Chasers design team is entirely self-taught and currently consists of four students and one Windward CC staff member. Other Windward colleagues have volunteered their help with music creation and Hawaiian translation. The game is created with the free, open-source game engine, Godot, and the app-management system, Firebase from Google, for saving gameplay.

“I have learned so much, not just about the technical aspects of game development, but also about game culture and how important it has become to our students and to society in general,” said Windward CC Media Design and Production Manager Trish Brubaker. “Gaming is giving people common ground and points of interpersonal exploration that didn’t exist before.”

Two artists, Alexis Daraban and Abby Worthley, have been following their passion for digital art and it is evident in the game. Buoni taught himself how to code via YouTube. Nearly everything was created from scratch using only free resources and the students were instrumental in making decisions affecting the game.

Windward Chicken Chasers team

  • Art and animation: Alexis Daraban (UH West Oʻahu ACM student), Abby Worthley (Windward CC student)
  • Programming: Dominic Buoni, lead programmer (UH Mānoa ACM student), Kaiwi Akioka, assisting (UH Mānoa student)
  • Creative director: Trish Brubaker (Windward CC, media design and production manager)
  • Hawaiian language translation: Kalae Akioka, Kaiwi Akioka
  • Music: Hiʻilawe Kay, Michael McIntosh

This student-driven endeavor welcomes input to keep improving the game. For those interested in contributing, contact Brubaker at pyb@hawaii.edu or stop by the Windward Chicken Chasers headquarters in Hale Laʻakea 242. (Donʻt forget to check-in using LumiSight UH before visiting campus.)

U H W O student
Alex Daraban