Student video game designers will vie for a Guinness World Record while creating electronic games from scratch in the 48-hour marathon that is Chillennium 2017, an Oct. 13-15, 2017 student-run spectacle staged at the Texas A&M Memorial Student Center by the Department of Visualization.
Chillennium organizers are out to beat the “Most Participants in Game Jam” record set in 2012 by game design students at the University of Bedfordshire in Luton, UK, where 299 students created playable videogame prototypes in under 48 hours.
More than 360 students from 23 U.S. and Canadian universities are registered to compete in Chillennium 2017, the fourth annual game jam at Texas A&M.
The competition attracts students from across the nation looking to develop their software skills, meet fellow game developers, and network with industry professionals who roam the game jam floor advising participants.
Fueled by contest-provided meals and snacks, and with access to a staffed, onsite resting area, students will race to meet a 5:30 p.m. Sunday deadline to deliver fully developed desktop-based games that they started after learning the competition theme only two days earlier.
Working alone or in teams of up to four participants, the game jammers employ their own hardware and software and use programming languages available online, loaded on their computers, or provided by contest organizers.
At the contest’s conclusion, industry professionals, event sponsors and game players will play and rank the games in a variety of categories, including innovation, quality, completeness, design and sound. Contest organizers will then award prizes that include highly-sought licenses for high-powered, professional-grade gaming software.
The event is orchestrated by a small group of visualization students headed by André Thomas, who teaches Texas A&M visualization classes in game development and leads the department’s LIVE (Learning Interactive Visualizations Experience) Lab, a university game development hub.
Last year’s game jam (see video) drew more than 200 students from 12 universities, including participants from as far away as Ohio and West Virginia.
Chillennium’s success has enhanced the national prominence of the game design program at Texas A&M’s Department of Visualization. In 2017 rankings published by the Princeton Review, a leading test preparation and college admission services company, Texas A&M’s graduate game design program ranked 17th, 7th among public universities. Its undergraduate program ranked 35th, 11th among public institutions.