Games design students at the University of Chester are once again rated among the best in the country following their success at the biggest ever UK student game jam.
In only their second year of entry, one of the university’s student teams (who called themselves The Senate) won the Best Concept prize with their game Legion, created during a marathon 48 hour competition.
Twenty-one student teams took part from across the UK’s university games courses.
This year’s theme was empowerment, which was only announced at the start of the jam, and from which students were challenged with designing and creating a full game from scratch in just 48 hours.
The University of Chester fielded three teams, made up of 15 students from across all three years of the undergraduate games development degree course.
This is the fourth annual competition run by Ukie (the UK Interactive Entertainment Association), which is a non-profit trade body supporting and promoting the wider games and interactive entertainment industry in the UK.
In both years of entry, University of Chester students have won prizes – last year, first year student team, the creatively-named Alpaca Punch Studios, came second overall with their game Road to Utopia.
Programme leader of the BSc in games development at the University of Chester, Ralph Ferneyhough, said: “Once again, the games development students at the University of Chester rose to the not insubstantial challenge of making a full game in just 48 hours.
“As lecturers on the course, Lee Beever, Dr Serban Pop and myself all ensured the event went ahead smoothly and Ukie kindly provided essential pizza feeds in the evenings which were rapidly consumed.
“For the second year running, I’m proud that one of our teams has won an award on the UK student development stage.
“This demonstrates our students are not only getting the full benefit of what we deliver here at the university, but are showing the dedication to go above and beyond just their learning and be ready to enter the very competitive games industry. I look forward with cautious optimism to completing the hat-trick of awards next year!”
Team members from The Senate were all first year students – Taylor Collins, Connor Ellis, George Evans, Jack Partridge, Lewis Waddle and Lewis Williams.
In keeping with the ‘empowerment’ theme, their game Legion was about an empowered block – instead of just simply moving around the level, the player must grow themselves across gaps and up surfaces to progress around the area.
At the start, the player has a limited ability to stretch, and must therefore explore the world to increase this growth ability, thus providing a logical planning challenge on each level.
Lewis Waddle said: “The jam was a great challenge and we all put everything into making the game and it was great fun to work alongside my classmates.
“We faced an immense amount of challenges, from not having any ideas on the game at the start, to mechanics not working properly.
“It has been an honour to represent the University of Chester.”
Team member Connor agreed: “It was a challenge, but an extremely rewarding and fun challenge,” and their colleague George Evans added: “A very trying experience but worth every second of sleep deprivation.”
Lewis Williams said: “It was a great experience, especially working with a team and with people I’ve got to know over the year, and I’m happy the team were able to win an award for our concept.”
Summing up the two day experience, Taylor Collins added: “I’m extremely proud of myself and my team.
“This has been an amazing experience. I feel honoured to have the opportunity to represent the University of Chester. I’m excited for our future in the game industry.”
More information about UKIE can be found at: http://ukie.org.uk/
For information about the BSc in games development run at the University of Chester’s Thornton Science Park, visit: http://www.chester.ac.uk/undergraduate/games-development