CSE students swim their way to first place at game jam

GameJamDuring the weekend of Nov. 7-9, the Learning Interactive Visualization Experience Lab (LIVE) in the Collge of Architecture's Department of Vizualization hosted a game jam on campus in collaboration with TAMU ACM SIGGRAPH, TAGD, Texas A&M University, Kansas State University, IAC, and others. A game jam is a gathering of game developers for the purpose of planning, designing and creating one or more games. This usually takes place within a short span of time, ranging from 24 to 48 hours. Teams of various sizes, including students from several majors, competed in the game design event.

Texas A&M CSE freshman and sophomore Jonathan Burk and Randall Dolifka, Vizualization department graduate student Kumar Sridharamurthy, and Kansas State computer science freshman Joy Hauser were part of the winning team for best overall game "Team No Name." The team created the game Keep Swimming, which requires players to control a fish underwater while dodging obstacles and accumulating points.

"I had a great time and an amazing learning experience at the game jam," Burk said. "What stuck out to me the most was the fun I had staying up with everybody and just working on games! It was a blast to focus all efforts on to designing and creating for a weekend."

Each member of the team received a license from the gaming software company, Unity. The licenses, valued at $1,500 each, allow them access to software to develop and program games.

"I was fortunate to work with three enthusiastic computer science and engineering students who picked up the game development software, Unity, really quickly," Sridharamurthy said.

LIVE lab's mission is to create an environment that fosters research and development of educational experiences for classroom use from K-12, higher education, corporate, Government and NGO. They accomplish this goal by collaborating with other departments, colleges and universities.

Photo: Randall Dolifka