PROVO, Utah (ABC4) – A group of video game developers has earned international praise for their computer game they estimate took thousands of hours to create. The game, “Liminus: The Silent Guard,” received the “Highly Commended” award from the Rookie Awards – an international board that evaluates and ranks top video game design schools around the world.

“Liminus” was directed and produced by Emily Ellis and Gabe Reed, respectively. The two BYU students collaborated with about 50 other students to bring the game to life. The team of students spent these hours creating concept art, 3D models, special effects, music, and programming the game.

The game was completed as a capstone project for BYU animation students and earned recognition from the Rookie Awards as one of the top games of the year.

The story of “Liminus” follows a character called the Shepherd, who is described as “an eternal being that rescues and protects lost sheep in a mythical land called the Inbetween.” Players use strategy and puzzle-solving to guide the sheep to safe spaces while protecting the sheep from vicious wolves.

According to BYU, it was an idea that Ellis, a Utah native from Kaysville, had been considering for years.

“I’d been wanting to tell a story with a new take on the Grim Reaper since the summer of 2018 but I wasn’t sure what the right format would be,” Ellis said. “I wondered whether it could be a book or a TV show or some short animation. When the animation program started asking for ideas for a video game, I decided to pitch it and other students really liked the idea and it started taking off from there.”

Ellis continued by saying a video game requires “laser-like focus” on the core experiences of the game. She and her team were forced to think creatively about how players would interact with the game and worked to find a way to make the game challenging, yet appealing.

As for Reed, BYU said it was his job as a producer to keep everyone working on the project on track and moving in the right direction.

“There’s a lot of moving parts, and there’s an order to designing a game like this,” said Reed. “The concept art had to be done before the models and the models had to be done before the animation. Scheduling everything and keeping us on track was my responsibility.”

Both Reed and Ellis said they are grateful for the opportunity to be part of the animation program with BYU and to gain real-world experience in a studio-like format.

“There’s a lot of heart and soul that went into the game and I hope people can see that,” said Ellis.

Liminus is available to play for free on PC.