First-ever Game Jam event at K-State draws over 60 players

Author: 
Ben Ward and Betsy Edwards

A marathon run of video-game development took place the weekend of Feb. 6-8 in K-State’s Fiedler Hall.  The Invitational Game Jam at K-State was one of the first such events in the state of Kansas.  More than 60 students participated in the team-based competition, with a total of 20 video games produced on a cybersecurity theme. 
The winning game was “Cryocrypt,” a puzzle game created by a K-State team of Betsy Baddeley, Joel Clark, Miriam Cox, and Casey Lafferty.  The top prize was Unity Pro Team licenses, a professional suite of software for the development of 2D and 3D games, each valued at $2,000.

“Securing the Future” was the event theme and also the keynote presentation by Eugene Vasserman, assistant professor in Computing and Information Sciences, which kicked off the event at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 6.  From that point on, many participants worked throughout the weekend, most of them pulling all-nighters, until the event concluded at 6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 8.

The goal of this interdisciplinary event was to develop a functional video game within the time limit that addressed the central theme. College students from across Kansas came together and formed teams to compete, resulting in a synergy of creativity and innovation across academic majors that included architecture, music, English, chemical engineering, computing and information sciences, theatre, math, anthropology, history, and mass media.

Event sponsors included Unity, Civics Plus, GE Aviation, Cerner, and K-State’s Office of the Provost, the College of Engineering, Computing and Information Sciences, and Information Technology Services.

K-State student groups that helped with the event were the Association of Computing Machinery, Game Development Club, K-State Games Club, and the K-State Board Games Club.

The Invitational Game Jam will be an annual event at K-State each spring semester. For more information, see the gdc.cis.ksu.edu website and contact Nathan Bean (nhbean@k-state.edu) or Ben Ward (bward@k-state.edu).