Campus Collage

Campus Collage

Nicholas Dinapoli, a junior computer animation and game design major, sketches out his idea for a video game at the 2015 Global Game Jam at CSU, Chico in January. (Jeff Barron)

Nicholas Dinapoli, a junior computer animation and game design major, sketches out his idea for a video game at the 2015 Global Game Jam at CSU, Chico in January. (Jeff Barron)

Students Create Computer Games in 48 Hours

Creativity and storytelling were in high demand at the 2015 Global Game Jam at CSU, Chico, which tasked dozens of computer animation and game development students with creating video games from scratch in just 48 hours.

Hosted at numerous locations on the same weekend, the annual event challenges developers around the world to design video games around a central theme, kept secret until the start of the event. 

Over the weekend, 41 computer animation and game development students worked in teams to develop games in just two days. Thousands of their counterparts participated around the globe, in locations including the Google campus, Facebook headquarters, MIT, and USC.

“I kind of see it as the ultimate form of entertainment,” said junior Michael Kennedy. “You have everything that you need in a movie in a game, only the players are active at the same time. So the person being entertained is directly involved, which adds a whole different dimension to your traditional storytelling or entertainment medium.”

By the end of the weekend, nine video games had been created around the theme of “what do we do now?” Game concepts that emerged included a ruler at the beginning of time tasked with creating the universe from scratch; a spaceship that becomes stranded during a mission to find life in other solar systems; and a virus trying to break through barriers to infection.  

Students were encouraged to design their games in compliance with proposed constraints such as making the game playable on an electronic wristwatch or including elements from their hometowns.

A special hashtag, #ggjLive, included live broadcast feeds from competition sites around the world.

Since the first event in 2009, Global Game Jam has grown to encompass 72 countries; 23,000 participants; 488 locations; and 4,292 game projects. 

“Events like this can help developers break out of their routine work cycles,” said Jeff Underwood, a lecturer in the Computer Animation and Game Development Program who helped organize the Chico Game Jam. “This particular weekend is about being really, really creative.”

For a video about the weekend, visit youtube.com and search for “Chico State Global Game Jam.”

Sarah Langford, Public Affairs and Publications

 
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Business administration major Rylee Theodore was one of 400 CSU, Chico students to study abroad in 2014–15. She spent the fall semester in London, England, and took this photo on a trip to Athens, Greece.

Business administration major Rylee Theodore was one of 400 CSU, Chico students to study abroad in 2014–15. She spent the fall semester in London, England, and took this photo on a trip to Athens, Greece.

Study Abroad Program Thrives, Maintains Top Ranking

Fourteen CSU, Chico students received prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships in 2014–15 totaling $56,000 to assist with their study-abroad program costs. Civil engineering senior Emma Hesz and sociology junior Nicollette Moore were the latest recipients, and they traveled to Sweden and Thailand, respectively, in spring 2015.

Hesz and Moore are among 700 undergraduates across the United States to receive the competitive grant for the spring from among 2,600 students who applied. The Gilman Scholarship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and aims to diversify the students who study abroad and the countries and regions to which they go.

Earlier this year, the national Institute of International Education (IIE) ranked the CSU, Chico study-abroad program third in the nation among master’s-granting institutions for number of long-term (yearlong) participants. The University has ranked second or third in the nation for six years running in this IIE category. 

In addition, CSU, Chico was ranked second by the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC) for the number of students it sent abroad in the 2013–14 academic year, the last available ranking.

Jennifer Gruber, coordinator of CSU, Chico’s Study Abroad and International Exchange program, said the University sent approximately 400 students abroad to 27 countries around the world during the 2014–15 academic year.