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Sunday, May 24, 2020

Students race to create their own video games

Students have less than 48 hours to create a video game and showcase it to each other, but it can’t be any game. There’s a theme students have to follow and it involves turnips and beets.

Every quarter the WWU Game Design Club hosts a game jam where students have to create a video game in a limited time frame. Students team up and vote for the theme, which was “Thyme to turnip the beet.” After their game is finished they have the opportunity to play one another’s games.

“For the next 36 hours we will all forgo the stress and anxiety associated with being a college student and instead we will replace it with the stress and anxiety of making a video game,” said junior Wyatt Chapman, vice president of the club.

The event began on Saturday, April 15 at 10 a.m. and the deadline was on Sunday, April 16 at 9 p.m.

Grad student Andy Brown is the president of the club and said there is no experience required to participate.

“They [students] don’t have to actually know how to make a game,” Brown said. “A lot people start out doing tutorials, some already have previous experience and they’ll apply that.”

Brown said there are plenty of game engine’s for the students to use, and are user friendly, that includes tutorials.

“We’ve had games you play on your phone with text, we’ve had 3D games and 2D games. One person even made a [Nintendo] 3DS game once,” Brown said.

Teams stuck close to the theme and the game styles were diverse. Some were side-scrolling, puzzle, quest or rhythm based while also including theme-based puns within the finished games.

Teams had five minutes to present.
Senior Cody McGinnis created a side-scrolling shooting game called “Beet Thyme to Turnip” and it was his fourth game jam.

McGinnis said the most challenging part was adding more animation to his game.

In past game jams, McGinnis had trouble with the time management part of developing the game.

“If someone comes in new I would recommend doing it in a group. Then you have a shared experience,” McGinnis said.

After games were showcased, teams would vote for best of. Team Lil’ Bub won first place with its game “Turnip the Beet,” a rhythmic DJ game.

Although there were some judging categories, there were no awards given out in the game jam.

“There is a voting system but it’s totally superfluous that there’s no award, there’s nothing at stake,” Chapman said.
Game jam involves more than just programming. Brown recommends a balance of creative minds and computer science backgrounds in teams.

“Art is usually something that can be a bit of a bottleneck for teams because it’s a scarce resource,” Brown said.
The games are uploaded on Itchi.io, a game-sharing website, and the games developed by the students are available for everyone to play.30The Game Design Club meets on Mondays at 6 p.m. in the Communications Facility, room 105.

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