Student Stories: Tucker Wolf

Student Stories: Tucker Wolf

Major: Game Animation and Design

Tucker Wolf grew up drawing his own comic books, from superheroes like Spiderman to just doodles.

While enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, he worked as a camera operator and used both photo and editing software. Several relatives recommended College of DuPage, and Wolf discovered like-minded students and professors who are equally as creative and artistic as he is.

While studying Game Animation and Design at COD, Wolf was part of a team that won a gold medal in Interactive Application and Video Game Development (College Division) at the 2017 SkillsUSA National Leadership Conference.

Wolf and fellow students Lexie Wilterdink, Adel Labadi and Sam Wohlrab spent more than five months developing a virtual reality-enabled game called “Fracture.” The four-member team took a silver medal in the SkillsUSA state competition behind another College of DuPage team. However, the state champions were unable to attend the national competition, and because only two-member teams can compete at nationals, Wolf and Wilterdink were selected to present their team’s game.

The SkillsUSA competition consisted of an exam, which covered game design, game art and programming questions; documentation, which included marketing materials; and a demonstration of the game itself to show functionality, complexity and artistry. Wolf and Wilterdink pitched “Fracture” to attendees and judges, who played it live.

For “Fracture,” Wolf explored his interest in 3D artwork and designed more than 200 custom-made models.  

“I recreated and fabricated everything that you would find in a Midwestern Iowa house,” he said. “My team was always talking about what to do with the game and where we should go with it. We had a great group dynamic and I loved working on the game.”

Wolf has transferred to earn his bachelor’s degree in Game Entertainment and Technology at Elmhurst College. He originally wanted to work at Pixar making movies, but after studying 3D artwork, he is excited about taking advantage of other opportunities in the field.

“If I am hired for a studio job, I am not going to lie – I would probably cheer out loud amongst my neighbors. But I want an opportunity that would not just be another drone working in the hive mind,” he said. “I want to be working alongside colleagues who I am comfortable with, people who are as passionate and driven toward self-perfection in one’s own craft as well as helping push the boundaries of what your team can actually do.”

Wolf and Wohlrab continue to work on “Fracture” and plan to bring a demo for review by COD Professor Steve Santello in the fall. They also plan to submit it for the International Independent Games Festival at the Game Developers Conference in 2019.

Wolf’s advice to COD students is to stay focused. 

“You are not at COD for anyone else other than you,” he said. “Really hone in on exactly what it is you want to do, then focus as much time as you can exploring it. Take seminars and go for all the extra classes or group organization meetings. You also need to be very comfortable talking to others and to let them be comfortable in return. Be respectful and kind in your group setting exercises. They are designed to simulate what it is to work in a team environment and work together to make something awesome. 

“College of DuPage’s contribution to my education is huge, especially the SkillsUSA opportunity. I miss COD every day!”

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