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Creative coding

By Laura Koenig | Echo

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With the help of excessive amounts of caffeine, pizza, soda and snacks, Taylor students will create video games from scratch during the computer science department’s annual GameJam on Oct. 6–8.

GameJam will start on Thursday, Oct. 6 at 6 p.m. in Euler. The event will begin with each team submitting theme ideas and then voting for their favorite. Each game must be based on the selected theme. Last GameJam’s theme was “afterlife.”

The groups have the next 24 hours to find a storyline, plan the game, compose music and design art. However, they may not start coding until 6 p.m. on Friday. This is when GameJam officially begins.

The teams will code and create for the next two days—at least while Euler is open. At midnight on Saturday, the coding phase will cease, leaving the rest of the competition up to the judges. The judges, game-lovers from outside of Taylor, will review and play the video games and pick first, second and third place.

Participants are not required to be a part of the Computer Science department in order to join GameJam. Both majors and non-majors alike are doing more than winning a title. They will learn and grow in those three days.

“It really is a great time for aspiring (video game) developers to try new ideas in a light environment without having to worry about failing or passing a grade or being successful in the market,” sophomore Tom Metzger said. “Plus it eliminates the ‘I’d try, but just can’t find enough time’ excuse that we all use when talking about things we want to do.”

Students are not the only people experimenting with new ideas at the competition. Assistant professor of computer science and engineering Jon Denning has been able to create his own new game while answering questions from students and facilitating event details. Denning also enjoys getting to know the students, especially the freshmen, and seeing their final products.

The games will range from 3D first-person games, to platform games like Super Mario World, to choose-your-own-adventure games. Teams and individuals can choose what they want to create, as long as it is connected to the theme in some way.

“Everyone I’ve talked to has really enjoyed the experience, even if it’s brand new,” Denning said.

For more information about GameJam, visit their website at gamejam.cse.taylor.edu.

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