On the 3rd 4th and 5th of April, The Windows Games Ambassadors hosted the Scottish Universities Jam at the University of West of Scotland ‘UWS’ in Glasgow. The event was an intense weekend of game development based on Windows 8 games with a focus on students developing a portfolio of Windows Phone and Windows 8 apps. Our goal of the event was simply demonstrate the opportunity of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 importantly getting created games into the Windows 8 and Windows Phone stores.
The event was planned/developed/implemented by simply ensuring the Windows Games Ambassadors are networked with home and local Universities. After the recent Windows in Academia Event http://blogs.msdn.com/b/uk_faculty_connection/archive/2013/04/10/windows-in-academia-presentations.aspx we worked with one of the attendees Dr Daniel Livingston and Michael Cameron @busypixel Windows Games Ambassador at his local institution to develop the Game Jam.
The event was a mixer of lectures by Academics and the Scottish Windows Games Ambassadors with the aim of boosting students confidence in their own abilities as developers (This has been cited as one of the key reasons student won’t publish apps to store’ WGA Survey 2013) by guiding them through the development process of a Windows Store or Windows Phone 8 app.
Students were able to use any development tools available to them that can create Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8 apps, a variety of development tools were used such as; GameMaker, Construct 2, TouchDevelop, Rapid2D and of course Visual Studio. Once the games had been developed, students were shown how to set up their free developer accounts and publish to the Windows 8 Store.
The GameJam started off with a brief overview of the Windows 8 Development process and answering any queries before the theme of “Mythical creatures” was set, from there students demonstrated their creativity and enthusiasm to develop some truly brilliant apps.
Huge thanks to YoYo for providing free GameMaker Studio licenses for use at the event and for a time limited period after the event to ensure GameMaker developed apps could be submitted to store.
The event was held at the University of West of Scotland. The organisation and the venue at the University was great, huge thanks to senior lecturer Daniel Livingstone from UWS and Michael Cameron Windows Games Ambassadors who lead the event use of the University resources during the Easter Vacation period for all the attendees at the University.
While there were of course issues during development – much like at any GameJam, students were able to push past them and demonstrate their ability to thrive under the constraints of time.
As the end of the GameJam drew closer and students had started to add finishing touches to their games and submit them for certification.
The completion of the Windows GameJam at UWS has reinforced our views that students have the ability to create some great games. Confidence is key, and if a student is willing to try then I think they will be pleasantly surprised with what they can achieve. As part of the confidence issues we are planning to develop the Windows Games Ambassadors into figure heads with guest blogs on both the Faculty Connection, Student and Ubelly resources.
Below is a selection of the games that were created more information on each one as they arrive in store and ideally guest blogs about the individuals and their portfolios will be developed.
Unicorn Space Command
The event focused on the development of Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 so build once deploy to all strategy using 3rd party frameworks which allows cross platform publishing.
The event was long enough to produce store ready apps for Windows 8. Students and academic were impressed with the variety and choice of 3rd Party toolsets available.
one student commented ‘I haven’t used GameMaker since School and its AWESOME!’
The Windows Games Ambassadors will be holding additional lectures and time allocation for students to get these apps store ready across the UK So if your interested see http://www.windowsgamesambassadors.co.uk
I made Unicorn Space Command. This game jam was a lot of fun and it was very exciting to get my game on the Windows Store! It's doing really quite well in the store just now, give it a try, it's free! http://bit.ly/USC2013 :)