WASHINGTON, PA (March 10, 2014) – At 5 p.m. on March 7, Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) senior Lauren Vero doubted that she would be able to create a video game in 24 hours. But just 21 hours later, after little sleep and a lot of junk food, she was playing the game.
Vero and about 10 of her classmates participated in the first W&J 24-Hour Game Jam in the Tech Center between March 7 and March 8. The event challenged students – some of whom took the course CIS 105: Game Design and Development, and others who had little or no experience at all – to design, develop and play a completed video game in just one day.
“I’m a little tired and my brain is a little cramped, but I remembered a lot of stuff I didn’t think I’d be able to remember,” said Vero, a Computing and Information Studies major who took the game design course during the Fall 2012 semester. “I’m proud of myself.”
For her game, “Hammock City,” Vero created avatars of professors in W&J’s Computing and Information Studies Department. The object of the game is to guide the avatar of Thomas Lombardi, assistant professor of the CIS Department at W&J, to various locations and gain points by collecting specific items. Vero said designing the game in a short amount of time forced her to “think on her toes” and implement problem-solving strategies quickly – both skills she likely will need in the workplace.
Amanda Holland-Minkley, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the CIS Department at W&J, said the new event is a way to challenge students who already have some experience, and to open a new experience to students who might not have considered working in this or similar fields. At the start of the event, she offered “mini courses” in relevant software to the participants, who then forms teams with roles for designers, coders and game testers.
“I usually teach the games course in the fall, so this is a nice spring event,” Holland-Minkley said. “It’s a fun thing to do, but on a larger scale, it’s a crash course in project management and problem solving.”
Three games were created, and are available for the public to play.
- “Hammock City” by Em Kauffman and Lauren Anne, featuring Professor Thomas Lombardi: https://www.washjeff.edu/users/ahollandminkley/StudentGames/HammockCity/
- “Roadkill Cafe” by Max Cameron and Joe Otteni (game includes sound features): http://cis-washjeff.net/games/RoadkillCafe/
- “Hoss Ironheart” by Rick Fincham, Gabriel Vazquez and Tyler Shuchat, with help from Dale Wones (game includes sound features): http://cis-washjeff.net/games/HossIronheart/
Links also are provided on the W&J Computing and Information Studies Facebook page.