Computer Science Teacher
Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

April, 2011

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Champions for The US Imagine Cup 2011

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    We just announced the winners in the US Imagine Cup for game development and software design. The winning software design team will be representing the United States in the World-wide Imagine Cup Finals this summer in New York City. The teams in order are:

    Game Design –Windows/XBOX (XNA):

    Team Bloom - Finalists Announcement

    1. Bloom - Tribeca Flashpoint Academy
    2. Plump Pixel - California State University Chico
    3. Righteous Noodle - University of Houston
    4. XozGaming - Lick-Wilmerding High School

    Game Design Mobile (Zune/Phone)

    Team Big Impact Bear - Finalists Announcement

    1. Big Impact Bear - University of Houston
    2. Team AAMP - University of Houston
    3. Team Mintrus - Columbia College in Chicago, University of Louisville
    4. EDO - Arizona State University

    Software Design

    Team Note-Taker - Finalists Announcement

    1. Note-Taker - Arizona State University
    2. Lifelens - Anderson School of Management, Harvard School of Business, University of California San Diego, University of California Davis, University of Central Florida
    3. Uca Ursus - University of Central Arkansas
    4. TTHV - Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, Central Connecticut State University

    People’s Choice Winners

    Team BearPaw

    • Game – Bloom - Tribeca Flashpoint Academy
    • Software Design – BearPaw - Brigham Young University

    The awards ceremony capped a weekend during which 22 U.S. finalist teams competed, made new friends and explored Seattle. Alex Ryu of Team TTHV remarked, “The whole experience has been phenomenal – it is such a student-centric event!” We’d like to thank all participants in this year’s event, as well as our esteemed panel of judges and our inspiring speakers, including game developer Jane McGonigal and Microsoft Principal Researcher Bill Buxton.

    This year’s finalist teams now go back to their universities with the humble knowledge that they are doing their part to change the world. We can’t wait to see what they all do next!

    To learn more about all the U.S. finalists, visit http://www.facebook.com/MicrosoftTechStudent?sk=app_188514771167996.

    BTW Patrick Godwin did a great job reporting on the closing keynotes at 2011 US Imagine Cup Finals–Keynote Speakers



  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    XozGaming–High School Team in the US Imagine Cup Finals

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    GD-Xoz-team_picture0withXozGaming

    XozGaming is an Imagine Cup game development team made up of two high school juniors from Lick-Wilmerding High School. Julius is the artist and Xander is the programmer behind their XNA Game – Strain.

    Strain is a Windows real time strategy game where you defend the world against a global pandemic.

    I sat down with this team for a while today and asked them a bit about how they got started. Xander is a self-taught programmer. He started with web development and some PHP and moved on to C++. For this project he had to learn C# and XNA of course. I asked them how they heard about the Imagine Cup and got a surprising answer. “My Mom told me about it” Xander told me. Apparently his mother was doing Internet searches for scholarships and other things that might help Xander get into college and found the Imagine Cup along the way. Xander looked at it, thought is seemed interesting and brought Julius in for the art work. They asked their math teacher to mentor them. I heard from their mentor that there will be a software design course at their school next year largely as a result of the excitement XoZGaming has brought to the school.

    XozGaming was competing against hundreds of teams in order to get to Redmond this weekend to compete in the US Imagine Cup finals. All of the other teams here are from colleges and universities. Many of the teams they beat out included upper level undergraduate and even graduate students. Hard work and talent got them very far very quickly. They seem like really great people as well. I really enjoyed talking to them. I’ve told then that they should plan on competing again next year as well.

    Of course making it to the US finals of a national competition like this has to look good on college applications. It’s also given them a great start in learning important things beyond game development. Things like presentation skills, team work, and project/time management. Once here in Redmond they have taken advantage of learning opportunities in the form of seminars and conversations with other competitors and Microsoft employees. They have feedback on their game from game industry professionals. A lot of value in things like that.

    This morning they compete against three other teams, all from universities, for the chance to be the top XNA game team in the US Imagine Cup. Win or lose though they are big winners in my book. Good luck to them today!

    EDIT: They came in fourth which while I am sure was dissappointing is still a big win looking at all the competition they beat to get that far. More final US Imagine Cup results here.

    Patrick Godwin (aka @ximplosionx), a high school senior himself, spent some time with XozGaming and you can read about his impressions of them at 2011 US Imagine Cup Finals–Day 1  and 2011 US Imagine Cup–Day 2: XozGaming. Late Edit: Patrick has a video interview with the team at 2011 US Imagine Cup Finals–Final Day Presentations



  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Final US Imagine Cup Teams Announced - 2011

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    ic_header_logo

    After a trip to Seattle (space needle, Pike Place Market, etc.) last night the US Imagine Cup teams started today at the Microsoft store in down town Bellevue WA. There they had breakfast, tried out a lot of cool hardware (I saw the tablet PC is really want) and had a chance to play a new Kinect game that will not actually be released until later in the week. That was followed by a bunch of training sessions. They had choices between things like making money doing Windows Phone development, making music with Windows Phones, creating districted applications using REST, the future of multi-platform game development, and several others. We even had a special breakout session for team mentors which we hope will help them help even more and better teams next year. If that is possible. And of course there was food. There is always food.

    But the most important event of the day was the announcement of the final teams. The four final teams in each of game for XNA, game for Windows Phone and the premier event the software design competition. The winner of that event will be traveling to New York City for the world-side finals in July. Tomorrow, Monday, these teams will have their final chance to impress the judges with their projects and presentations. Presentations are powerfully important of course. In any case the finalists who will be competing tomorrow in the ultimate determination are (in no particular order):

    Software Design

    • TTHV - Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, Central Connecticut State University
    • Uca Ursus - University of Central Arkansas
    • Lifelens - Anderson School of Management, Harvard School of Business, University of California San Diego, University of California Davis, University of Central Florida
    • Note-Taker - Arizona State University

    Game Design –Windows/XBOX (XNA):

    • Bloom - Tribeca Flashpoint Academy
    • Plump Pixel - California State University Chico
    • Righteous Noodle - University of Houston
    • XozGaming - Lick-Wilmerding High School

    Game Design Mobile (Zune/Phone)

    • Big Impact Bear - University of Houston
    • EDO - Arizona State University
    • Team AAMP - University of Houston
    • Team Mintrus - Columbia College in Chicago, University of Louisville

    All of the teams have the rest of the day free. Many will be exploring the area around Bellevue or taking mass transit into Seattle. The finalists, I suspect, will be fine tuning their presentations and applications based on feedback from the first round. Good luck to all the teams.



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