DFL and UW Bothell logos

Digital Future Lab expands access to tech industry careers by offering students from any major a pathway to domain mastery

The future is defined by the people who make it, and Digital Future Lab is diversifying the makers to define a more inclusive future
Research & Development

@DFL_Studios

One of the biggest hurdles the tech industry faces in its efforts to become more diverse and inclusive is a lack of diverse candidates with the skills required to pass job interviews. Companies offer a limited number of internships to assess and prepare students, but those positions typically are filled by students who have similar backgrounds to their interviewers.

Companies have been reluctant to assess and hire for difference and future potential rather than current skills (even though many team performance studies clearly show the benefits of doing so), which keeps candidates who don't fit a narrow set of criteria on the sidelines. DFL offers diverse students the opportunity to go from 0-100 in a core tech industry discipline at their own pace, in a professional environment that mirrors an external internship and teaches techniques for leaning into difference to increase team performance.

The model works: DFL graduates are strongly recruited throughout the technology industry and report excellent early career velocity.

Image

Senior Project Manager Lamiya Kazi (Physics '19) announces the build for Ghostlight Manor's spring update was just declared gold and is ready to release

DFL and UW Bothell logos

Digital Future Lab expands access to tech industry careers by offering students from any major a pathway to domain mastery

Research & Development
"The future is defined by the people who make it, and Digital Future Lab is diversifying the makers to define a more inclusive future"
Image

Senior Project Manager Lamiya Kazi (Physics '19) announces the build for Ghostlight Manor's spring update was just declared gold and is ready to release

One of the biggest hurdles the tech industry faces in its efforts to become more diverse and inclusive is a lack of diverse candidates with the skills required to pass job interviews. Companies offer a limited number of internships to assess and prepare students, but those positions typically are filled by students who have similar backgrounds to their interviewers.

Companies have been reluctant to assess and hire for difference and future potential rather than current skills (even though many team performance studies clearly show the benefits of doing so), which keeps candidates who don't fit a narrow set of criteria on the sidelines. DFL offers diverse students the opportunity to go from 0-100 in a core tech industry discipline at their own pace, in a professional environment that mirrors an external internship and teaches techniques for leaning into difference to increase team performance.

The model works: DFL graduates are strongly recruited throughout the technology industry and report excellent early career velocity.

Big teams, big projects

@DFL_Studios

The studio uses interactive entertainment as the scaffolding for our curriculum: video game development is an exceptional interdisciplinary sandbox allowing students from all majors to contribute to complex commercial software development on large teams, and we've had interns from majors ranging from Physics to Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies to Culture, Literature, and the Arts working together on the same release.

DFL games are family friendly and ambitious: the final retail product is required to represent a level of quality typical for the industry. In fact, DFL was only the second university studio to meet the bar for Microsoft's Independent Developers Program, a highly selective service that helps smaller companies ship products on the Windows and Xbox official online stores.

Image

Product: Ghostlight Manor

Retail availability: PC/Mac
Participating students: 150+
Number of majors: 16
Number of research projects supported: 40+
Campuses involved: 5
Time in active Development: 5 years+
Release cadence: quarterly

Ghostlight Manor was our first released product: a 15+ hour adventure game with more than 150 students to date (and counting) contributing to development. Although launched in 2016 it continues in active development with major features being added each year: networked multiplayer came online in 2017, and AI was added in 2018.

Buy Ghostlight or play a free demo on Steam.

Ghostlight Manor 2016 v1 launch trailer for the Steam distribution platform, an all-ages 15-hour solo adventure

Ghostlight Manor 2019 v6 release adds support for 4-player split screen to multiplayer mode (first appeared in v3) and an upgraded adaptive AI based on human player learning styles (first in v5)

The games are broadly leveraged as research tools, used across campus for studying interface design, network optimization, accessibility, and have even been developed as curriculum used to teach introductory programming under a grant from Microsoft, Google, and NSF.

Visit the Ghostlight page on the Games Themed Research Group's website for more information about how the game is being used to teach programming in high schools and colleges.

Image
Big teams, big projects

The studio uses interactive entertainment as the scaffolding for our curriculum: video game development is an exceptional interdisciplinary sandbox allowing students from all majors to contribute to complex commercial software development on large teams, and we've had interns from majors ranging from Physics to Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies to Culture, Literature, and the Arts working together on the same release.

DFL games are family friendly and ambitious: the final retail product is required to represent a level of quality typical for the industry. In fact, DFL was only the second university studio to meet the bar for Microsoft's Independent Developers Program, a highly selective service that helps smaller companies ship products on the Windows and Xbox official online stores.

Image

Product: Ghostlight Manor

Retail availability: PC/Mac
Participating students: 150+
Number of majors: 16
Number of research projects supported: 40+
Campuses involved: 5
Time in active Development: 5 years+
Release cadence: quarterly

Ghostlight Manor was our first released product: a 15+ hour adventure game with more than 150 students to date (and counting) contributing to development. Although launched in 2016 it continues in active development with major features being added each year: networked multiplayer came online in 2017, and AI was added in 2018.

Buy Ghostlight or play a free demo on Steam.

Ghostlight Manor 2016 v1 launch trailer for the Steam distribution platform, an all-ages 15-hour solo adventure

Ghostlight Manor 2019 v6 release adds support for 4-player split screen to multiplayer mode (first appeared in v3) and an upgraded adaptive AI based on human player learning styles (first in v5)

The games are broadly leveraged as research tools, used across campus for studying interface design, network optimization, accessibility, and have even been developed as curriculum used to teach introductory programming under a grant from Microsoft, Google, and NSF.

Visit the Ghostlight page on the Games Themed Research Group's website for more information about how the game is being used to teach programming in high schools and colleges.

Image