The Business of Designing Games – in 24 Hours

MHC’s first GameJam gives students the chance to experience video game production, from developing an idea to pitching the finished product – all in a day.

On Saturday, March 3, students will show up at Kendade 305 with their laptops. They’ll brainstorm ideas, form teams, come up with a plan, and start writing code.

The intense environment and focus on collaboration can generate advanced prototypes or even finished games in 24 hours, said GameJam organizer Audrey Lee-St. John, Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor of Computer Science. “Students will experience the entire game development pipeline in a compressed period of time: pitching, planning, engineering, incorporating sound and art.”

GameJam will give students a glimpse into the game industry, which last year generated $25 billion in revenue and employed 120,000 people in the United States. Hitpoint Studios, a Hatfield-based game company and the largest independently owned game company in Massachusetts, is partnering with the computer science department to launch the event .

Hitpoint staff will participate on teams, offering advice to students and guiding the development process. Games created at GameJam will be displayed at the company’s open house on March 15.

“By involving HitPoint, our students will interact with professionals from the video game industry in a fun and creative atmosphere,” said Lee-St. John.

Students who participate will experience first-hand the skills and attitude required to work in the industry, said Lee-St. John.

"The point of GameJam is to cultivate collaboration and to generate projects students can continue working on. They will also gain confidence from bringing their ideas to fruition, which I expect will inspire some to continue on to undertake entrepreneurship initiatives,” she said.

GameJam is part of the computer science department’s Ihart: Interactive Hallways for Attraction and Retention in Technology project, which provides students with a unique opportunity to develop engaging, interactive scenes and games on floors and walls on the second floor of Clapp Laboratory.