The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Students to build videogames from the ground up in Game Jam

Many students play videogames as a pasttime, but Friday teams of students will work to create them from scratch.
Texas A&M’s first Game Jam kicks off Friday. Game Jam is a 48-hour period where contestants create novel videogames based on a given theme. Hosted by the College of Architecture Live Lab, the event is open to students from all majors.
Andre Thomas worked at EA Sports for seven years and is the founder of Live Lab. He said Game Jam opens up opportunities for students.
“They’ll have access to experts in the field that students wouldn’t normally get access to,” Thomas said.
While the theme is kept secret until the beginning, Cameron Coker, visualization graduate student, has had experience with Game Jams in the past. He said the event is more of a marathon than a sprint.
“Game Jams are typically chaotic and kind of messy,” Coker said. “The spirit of experimentation is what leads it.”
Thomas said this first Game Jam event is a dress rehearsal for an upcoming global expansion.
“Next semester we are planning to participate in a global Game Jam, including contestants in Amsterdam, New York, California, Kansas and other entities,” Thomas said.
A few groups on campus, including Texas Aggie Game Developers, are already planning to participate in the event.
Timothy Foster, president of Texas Aggie Game Developers and computer science junior, said Game Jams have taken place in the past but on a much smaller scale, and the grandness of this event will hopefully get people more excited about it.
“A lot of people want to make a game but don’t have the motivation to get started,” Foster said. “It’s a really good time for people who have the same kind of ideas to come together. It gets people pumped about what they want to do.”
Foster said the game creation process is strenuous but accepting of new ideas.
“It’s a lot of free fall depending on what specific teams want to do,” Foster said. “There’s a lot that goes into making a game — a lot of different elements such as coding and graphics. Some teams will concentrate on one area more than others.”
Although Live Lab’s first Game Jam is local, Thomas said students from Kansas State will come to participate in the event, along with approximately 40 other students making up at least a dozen teams.
The computer software in the Live Lab will be available to the contestants, along with any personal equipment, which will help guide students throughout the game-making process.
Coker said he looks forward to the possibilities of games created in Game Jam to be developed further.
“The Live Lab can also be used to develop and commercialize games that are created at Game Jam,” Coker said. “We are super anxious to help students out with that.”
Coker said the chaotic nature of Game Jam makes it exciting.
“The fact that you’re just throwing a bunch of personalities into a mixing pot and seeing what comes out makes it interesting,” Coker said. “It can be as awesome or as catastrophic as the participants make it.”
Registration for Game Jam is open until Wednesday. Groups with a maximum of four people can join, and groups can be formed the day of the competition as well. The event will begin at 6 p.m. Friday in the Live Lab of the Langford Architecture Building and will run through Sunday.
Sponsors for the event include TAMU ACMSIGGRAPH, Unity, Texas Aggie Game Developers, Panera Bread, Kansas State University, Gessner Engineering, the Law Office of Mark R. Maltsberger, Texas A&M University and A&M Institute for Applied Creativity.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *