Headshot CG Environment Brian Schrank, PhD
Assistant Professor, DePaul University
bschrank@gmail.com / 404-281-4282
CV and Bio
AR Games
Animation & Design
Comics & Film


Dumpy Going Elephants - a VR game on the oculus rift made for IndieCade

Dumpy: Going Elephants!

Strap on that Oculus Rift to become Dumpy the Elephant! She just broke out of a carnival and is bopping her way to freedom. Rotate your head to fling cop cars over mountains and smash delicious ice cream trucks with your mighty trunk. This crazy new art of Trunk-Fu is easy to learn but so hard to master. Her rampage takes place in a surreal lofi blisscape of exploding boys and trypnotic UFOs! Grab a copy of Dumpy and PLAY TODAY!

We developed Dumpy: Going Elephants for the IndieCade Oculus Rift game jam.

www.DumpyGame.com. Here's a great Let's Play and some kids playing it.

Pedandeck is one heck of a card game!

Pedandeck: Let's Troll These Bobolos

Pedandeck is an experimental social card game that plays with the ebb and flow of peer pressure. It does this by rewarding players for causing or witnessing awkward social encounters. The game involves people who are NOT playing the game. Players win points by giving cards to anybody they can trick or catch acting pedantic. The player with the highest score at the end of the game wins. You can play by yourself or with any number friends.

Pedandeck got into IndieCade at E3 in 2013!


Available Now! Get your own deck, ya bobolo!

Teaching Philosophy

Statement of Research


Draw the Flow is a prototype

Draw the Flow - a game prototype

Game difficulty is controlled by the player who steers a man through space by tilting the iphone. Before flight begins, the player draws out the flow line (level of difficulty over time) they wish to play. After they die or win they may redraw it to make it easier or harder in places. The intent is to explore the concept of flow: How does making difficulty so visible and fungible change the nature of play?

Riverleap, an iPhone game. A fast-action platformer jumper for the iPod.

Riverleap - an iPhone game

Published by videogameo, a small game studio specializing in experimental mobile games.

Fast-action, graphically lush, 3D platformer that showed off the graphic potential and speed of the iPhone 3GS when it was released in 2009. You burst as a mutant minnow from an irradiated egg into a treacherous river. Bob, weave, and leap incredible heights over bears, hilly boys, gar, and harpies of a Mutant South. The procedurally generated world is different each game offering hours of pleasure! Near-instant load times make quick, exciting game sessions. Built with Unity3D.

Avant-garde Videogames

Avant-garde Videogames: Playing with Technoculture

Forthcoming by MIT Press - slated for sometime in 2014.

Videogame tinkerers, players, and activists of the 21st century are continuing, yet redefining, the avant-garde art and literary movements of the 20th century. Videogames are diverging as a social, cultural, and digital medium. They are used as political instruments, artistic experiments, social catalysts, and personal means of expression. A diverse field of games and technocultural play, such as alternate reality games, griefer attacks, arcade sculptures, and so on, can be compared and contrasted to the avant-garde, such as contemporary tactical media, net art, video art, Fluxus, the Situationists, the work of Pollock or Brecht, Dada, or the Russian Formalists. For example, historical avant-garde painters played with perspectival space (and its traditions), rather than only within those grid-like spaces. This is similar in some ways to how game artists play with flow (and player expectations of it), rather than advancing flow as the popular and academic ideal.

Videogames are not only an advanced product of technoculture, but are the space in which technoculture conventionalizes play. This makes them a fascinating site to unwork and rethink the protocols and rituals that rule technoculture. It is the audacity of imagining certain videogames as avant-garde (from the perspective of mainstream consumers and art academics alike) that makes them a good candidate for this critical experiment.


Mashboard Games

A research project started with Jeremy Rogers where we "affordance mine" the common computer keyboard for its play-enabling properties. These videogame prototypes ask players to rub, twinkle and mash the keyboard instead of typing on it. They are awkwardly liberating to play as players renegotiate their relationship to the keyboard on a more physically playful, body-friendly terms. I coined the term "affordance mining"
which is the process of researching a technology to determine underutilized actionable properties and leveraging those properties into innovative forms of interaction between the actor and the technology. The term "affordance" was popularized by Donald A. Norman.

www.MashboardGames.com - original brainstorm


Kotodama: The Power of Words

A role-playing videogame in which students learn Japanese
(using a PlayStation2 controller and microphone). The core agency of the player is expressed through her voice in speech recognition. The better the player can speak and understand Japanese the more power she has in the game. I organized the team of graduate students working on it and was the creative director of the project.

FAQs, GDC 2005, website, gallery

Japanese Promo:
PeaceMaker, the internationally‐acclaimed sim game on the Israeli‐Palestinian conflict PeaceMaker (co-creator of original game concept)

While at Carnegie Mellon University, together with Asi Burak, Ross Popoff, and Shanna Tellerman, we fleshed out the original concept for the internationally‐acclaimed government simulation game on the Israeli‐Palestinian conflict.

Intellectual Property Theft Simulator Intellectual Property Theft Simulator

A videogame parody about the legal confusion surrounding the creation of remix works. The player can create a remix work by adding sound loops and place dancing imagery on top of Michael Jackson’s Thriller video. Continuous feedback indicates what laws are being broken and the degree of the violation (trademark, copyright, or right of publicity). The aim is to stimulate interest regarding the chilling effects artists face when creating composite works due to ambiguous copyright laws.

Play online (load takes a minute)
It may run faster if you download it (30 mb) as a .rar or .zip and launch it in a web browser.


Gamespace is an unfolded hypercybe.

Space in Asteroids

7D Asteroids - a prototype

A 3D adaptation of Atari's classic Asteroids game. Gamespace is recursive like the original game (exiting through the top means entering up from the bottom). There is a central cube of space, which is repeated six times, extending from each of its own faces: up, down, right, left, back, and forward. The player's ship exists in each of the seven cubes, so the player can always watch her own back, no matter which direction she is facing. Disorientation mixed with new empowerment.

Download prototype - play instructions - plays in Firefox or IE but you need to install 3DVIA player


Atomic Platformer - a prototype

A platformer prototype where all matter consists of pulsing spheres. Objects, floors, and walls are atomized and must be physically manipulated to traverse space, entrap enemies, release items, defend oneself, and so on.

Download prototype - game instructions - plays in Firefox or IE but you need to install 3DVIA player


Videogame Poems


Created with Processing.

Click thumbnails to play. Please allow a moment to load.



A short and campy videogame in a futuristic dystopia where the player slays robotic samurai to avenge his murdered mother. The interface is a head mounted display and a motion-tracked sword. It was built in two weeks in a collaborative project with three other students from Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center. Introduced in the BVW show by Randy Pausch:


Bu Rai An

A videogame in hell wherein the player regains his soul by slaying undead samurai attacking from all directions (360 degrees). The interface is a head mounted display and a motion-tracked sword. It was a collaborative project with three other students from Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center. Introduced at the BVW show by Randy Pausch:

Saturday Night
Saturday Night Shenanigans

Saturday Night Shenanigans

A videogame comedy in 1918 America in which the player is wrongly accused of ogling a brutish man's wife. Box him to retain your honor, "lest you be pummeled and defamed as a boondoggled scoundrel!" The interface is a desktop display and keyboard. It was a collaborative project with three other students from Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center.


Eyes of the Emperor

A physically dangerous dice challenge game, Eyes of the Emperor, pits two players in an escalating series of battles. You win when you pluck out the eyes of your opponent.


game instructions (PDF)


Moon Checkers

Moon Checkers is a two player spherical board game. Each player begins with seven pieces clustered on either pole of the sphere. One piece is indestructible and is used to leverage a shifting forward position of attack or defense. The most challenging aspect of gameplay is to think in terms of spherical space because there is no edge of the game board to visually "lean" against.