By COREY BOWLING
Eastern’s Department of Computer Science participated in a Global Game Jam from Friday, Jan. 23 to 25.
Developers gathered in the Wallace Building and had 48 hours to create a game for the competition. The theme of the Game Jam was “what would you do now?” Game developers from all around the world developed games based on this question in the hopes to have their game recognized by different companies and promoted.
The games being developed had to be submitted online by 3 p.m., Sunday. They are all available to play online.
“We feel like Game Jams are one of the most unique aspects of game development because not many other fields you take a weekend and take everything you’ve ever learned and put it into practice,” said George Landon, associate professor of computer science.
Contestants gather at different locations in teams or alone and develop their own video games to enter. Roughly 250,000 contestants worldwide were competing in this semester’s Game Jam.
The range of experience was everything from freshmen to seniors and for both people in the program and those who are not.
“I like how everything is fast paced and you don’t know what the end result is going to be,” said Daniel Marifjeren, 25, a computer science senior from Richmond. “It forces you to be creative.”
Just because a game does not win the competition, doesn’t mean that it loses its chance to gain popularity. In some instances, games mentioned on social media websites and in the media become popular even without claiming a win.
Starwhal, a game about narwhals in space, is an example of this. While it did not win a Game Jam, it quickly became a hit in its own way.
“I do not know anything about the systems,” said Jordan Lewis, 21, an aviation freshman from Richmond. “If I do well it’ll be a fluke or I’ll do bad, but I’ll be happy”
Everyone can participate in a Game Jam no matter his or her major or experience; it is actually encouraged. While programmers are necessary, they are not the only component to a well-rounded game development team.
“If students are ever curious at all they are more than welcome to attend,” Landon said. “We have to have writers, we have to have artists, and we need composition for music. Just because you do not know how to program does not mean you cannot come and help. We can sit and make demos all day, but they aren’t going to be anything until we have art and graphic designers with it.”