Computing students showcase fruits of their Jam

Published on 19/02/2020 by DTHACK

After 36 hours of game development, B&FC Computing and Digital Technologies students will reveal their incredible achievements.

This year the challenge was laid down to develop games based around an island theme.

It's the third year of B&FC Game Jam - but the first time developers were joined by peers from Blackpool School of Arts who advised on game concepts and helped produce box art for the finished products.

Teams had one objective: to present a game by the competition's end that was ready to hit the market.

Curriculum manager David Seddon said: “The standard of development gets better every year. 

“Our Computing and Digital Technologies students who specialise in games development get loads of opportunities to learn their craft and have fun doing it throughout their time at B&FC - from competing in eSports leagues to exhibiting at Blackpool's annual PLAY Expo.”

A hackathon is currently being planned for later this year when students will develop solutions based on real-life problems.

“What makes studying great at B&FC is putting your skills to the test in real-life scenarios. That’s why our graduates are in such high demand across the technology industry,” said Mr Seddon.

Competitors now wait a week to find out which team is crowned B&FC’s 2020 Game Jam champion. Student judges will award points based on gameplay, design, graphics and playability.

How to develop a computer game

Modern computer games require a huge amount of people and time to get to market.

The biggest-selling games (called AAA titles – an example of which are the Assassin’s Creed series) are in development for up to three years. These games can have teams of up to 250 people – including specialist programmers, 2D and 3D artists, scriptwriters, musicians and voiceover actors.

Mr Seddon explained: “To scale this down into a 36 hour process is incredibly difficult and requires excellent team work and diversity of skills sets. “

Senior tutor Christoper Willitts explained the process in more detail:

"Coming up with a game idea can take days, weeks or even months. To help accelerate that process Game Jam competitors were supported in their 'conceptualisation' efforts by their Blackpool School of Arts peers who assisted in theming, story development and building out characters and environments.

"Students then translate their ideas into a modern 'game engine' where a proof of concept for the game is created. This can take weeks or months for large commercial titles,  but in a Game Jam this is generally completed within the first 18 hours. At the same time the team will consider what ‘assets’ to include in their game - from characters, enemies and collectible models, look for interface elements (items which appear in the menu areas during play), or develop atmospheric sounds for the game.

"Outside of a Game Jam some of these processes, such as building intricate 3D models, can take weeks of dedicated work.

"When all the elements of the game have come together, students will test their games to ensure there are no ‘bugs’ or issues. Then play testing begins to make sure it all works as intended. Although these stages are short they are some of the most important in ‘polishing’ or finalising the game for general play.

"n the weeks that follow students and staff will test and rate the games with a winner being decided and awarded the B&FC Game Jam trophy for that year.”

Computing and Digital Technologies courses

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