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Students develop new video games in 48-hour contest

By Emilie Plesset, Daily Staff Reporter
Published January 20, 2014

A video game can take up to 100 professional developers and over a year to create, but this past weekend, 70 University students created them in teams of four in only 48 hours.

Wolverine Software, a student group dedicated to the developing video games, ran the 48-Hour Game Jam competition, which began its run Friday evening at 6:30 p.m. and ended Sunday at 7:00 p.m. in the Duderstadt Center on North Campus.

At the end of the 48th hour, students played each other’s games and ranked their top three favorites. Judges also scored the games on various aspects including gameplay, creativity and originality, visuals, audio, polish and bugs, and the incorporation of the theme.

First place winners were given a trophy, medals and first picks from a table holding prizes ranging from video games to t-shirts and pens. Mini-achievement awards were also given out so all participants received a prize. Some of the prizes included a gold-painted rock for the team that had the most solid game idea and a gold-painted Monster drink for the person who stayed up the longest.

The event has grown since its inception in 2004. This year’s competition included nine more students than last year’s event and 41 more students than two years ago.

In addition to creating a complex game in a brief period of time, students incorporated a theme reveled at the beginning of the event. This year the theme was “separate.”

Engineering freshman Alex Dishaw and his team incorporated the theme by giving their game’s character the ability to separate his torso from the rest of his body.

“This is my first time I’ve made a video game and it’s really, really fun,” LSA junior Hope Tambala said. “Hearing my music and playing the game that I helped design is really cool.”

Engineering junior Austin Yarger, WSOFT president, said the ideal team is comprised of two programmers, an artist and a musician. However, not all teams had experience in some of the roles and many participants were forced to test their abilities in new roles.

“That is kind of part of the fun of game development,” Yarger said. “You often are exposed to so many different industries and art forms that may be out of your comfort zone. You learn a lot. It’s wonderful.”

While participants are allowed to leave at any time during the competition, some competitors made themselves comfortable in various corners of the Duderstadt Center and stayed overnight.

Engineering junior Robert Reneker came to the event prepared to sleep in the library both nights. While his teammates went home, he laid out a few blankets and slept on the floor.

“I liked the idea of sleeping here and staying the night,” Reneker said. “I could just get right up and go straight to work once I got up in the morning.”


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