Following on from the success of our Three Thing Game events we thought we’d branch out a bit. So we hooked up with Grimsby College, Hull College and Hull Studio School to take part in Global Game Jam. This is a 48 hour game development event where teams from all around the world make games at the same time.
Around fifty of our students signed up and spent 48 hours at Hull Studio School feverishly writing code. There was even a university staff team. The theme of the event was “heartbeats” and a whole range of games were produced. After the judging was finished a team made up of students from all around the local region, including a number of Hull University students, were named the winners. They had created a complete haunted mansion and a ghost who terrorised the players in 3D sound. When you heard the ghostly heartbeat coming up behind you the whole thing was proper scary. You can find out more about the competition, and view “shaky-cam” videos of the entries, here.
We have a Christmas Bash every year, usually around Christmas. We set up games around the department and also indulge in some Team Fortress mayhem in the computer labs. And we also have pizza, mince pies, crackers and silly hats.
This year we had two Wii U’s running and they were both very popular. The batteries in the controller pads went flat within 2 minutes of each other which we thought was very spooky, but this was just as the evening ended, so no gameplay was lost.
Rob Miles of the department was wondering would happen if you put a Raspberry Pi device into a coffee table, along with a flat screen monitor and a set of arcade controls and then used it to play classic arcade games like Frogger. Turns out that it all works out rather well (with a few false starts). You can find out more about the project here.
The Three Thing Game student development competition has acquired a life of its own. Each time we run it we have more students taking part (over 120 this time) and we have had to find larger and larger premises to run it in. This time we also had Microsoft and the MonoGame team along to give our students help with their games, which are finished off during a scary 24 hour game development session in the department.
Lots of pizza was eaten, and lots of code was written. The standard of the entries was even higher than last time, which is saying something, and quite a few of the finished games will be heading towards various App stores and Marketplaces soon.
For this semester the department has launched a new initiative, the Rather Useful Seminar. These are weekly sessions about subjects that are Rather Useful, but not part of any particular curriculum. Today we had a seminar about 3D printing, and Rob Miles was able to bring in and show off his 3D printer, which behaved itself impeccably.