The Pioneer

The Pioneer

CSUEB hosts quarterly game creating contest

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CSUEB hosts quarterly game creating contest

PHOTO BY PAZ SANDOVAL/THE PIONEER

PHOTO BY PAZ SANDOVAL/THE PIONEER

PHOTO BY PAZ SANDOVAL/THE PIONEER

PHOTO BY PAZ SANDOVAL/THE PIONEER

Paz Sandoval,
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California State University, East Bay’s fifth quarterly Game Jam kicked off last Friday at 3 p.m. on campus in a weekend-long spectacle.

“[games are] an interactive system, which consists of loops of activity that are designed to create an experience in the heart and mind of the player,” said event keynote speaker  Program Director of the Games and Playable Media professional masters program at UC Santa Cruz, Michael John.

Ran by Assistant Professor of the Graduate Multimedia Program, Ian Pollock, students from all departments across campus were welcomed to socialize, pitch, design, program and build their own video games. CSUEB students were in attendance as well as students from neighboring universities like San Jose State and UC Santa Cruz.

Once the doors opened, participants were encouraged to socialize while they checked in to receive Game Jam apparel and goodie bags that contained a few snacks and prompt cards.

PHOTO BY KRISTIANA FEDERE/THE PIONEER

PHOTO BY KRISTIANA FEDERE/THE PIONEER

After the keynote address, Pollock directed participants to open their goodie bags and remove several pieces of paper that contained the prompts for the games. They were then instructed to use the four given prompts to draw and create a rough outline of their game so they could present and hopefully generate some interest. Following the 60-second presentations, participants were funneled into the lobby where they could sign up and form teams for the game ideas they wanted to work on.

Six teams emerged from this process with six different game ideas, all with less than 48 hours to design it from the ground up, starting with basic assets such as artwork and the initial coding setup.

“Life is a Stage,” a game created by “The Directors,” a CSUEB team, is set in a world somewhat like our own where stress runs unopposed and controls people’s daily lives within an 8-bit world. In the game the  a single stage actor Mr. Pillman, is tasked with distracting people from reality by popping different pills in order to perform set actions such as swinging a sword, dangling from a chandler and balancing atop a chair in order to gain the crowd’s favor, the objective of the game is to  decrease his own stress level.      

PHOTO BY PAZ SANDOVAL/THE PIONEER

PHOTO BY PAZ SANDOVAL/THE PIONEER

“The Directors” game’s concept was created by graduate Glenn Brooks who also designed all of the art for the game. The programing, which is the bulk of all video game projects, was developed by East Bay’s computer science major Truman Chang and foreign exchange student Guoyu Liu, while all of the music and sound was produced by graduate Mitchel Stein. The engine or program “The Directors” used to create their game was Unity, which “helps make games a bit easier because it is set up with the basic code allowing more time to focus on things like story,” Stine stated.

As the deadline approached, after two days of little to no sleep and constant tweaks that had to be made, the game was nearing a finished playable product. When the “pencils down” point approached participants furiously scrambled in an attempt to make the finishing touches as well as preparing their final presentations.   

At the end of the event participants presented their games to an enthusiastic crowd. The room echoed in applause as each team went up presented and sat back down, followed by even more praise when thanks were given to all participants, no matter the quality of the presented projects. There were no winners or losers of this Game Jam, the event was structured around having fun, learning and making games.

“This is the smoothest Game Jam so far” according to Brooks. All competing teams had semi finished products when they presented, some were more complete than others. “The Directors” had to turn in a demo version of their game to the presentation due to “time management,” Guoyo Liu commented. He, like most students, took experience like programing with new engines, and critical thinking skills away from game jam.

Anyone interested in following or participating in CSUEB’s quarterly Game Jam is encouraged to join the CSUEB Game Jam Facebook page for dates when they become available. For those interested in playing games made at Game Jam like “Revelation”, “Alien Fighter”, and “Grandma’s Day Out” can be played at eastbaygamejam.com.    

PHOTO BY PAZ SANDOVAL/THE PIONEER

PHOTO BY PAZ SANDOVAL/THE PIONEER

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CSUEB hosts quarterly game creating contest