UNversity is not a Game Jam – the goal is in the process, what you learn in the journey, not in the product. To re-iterate, UNversity 2012 opened with the following rules and outline:
Pick a summer project (or two) and do it over the summer vacation period.
Students had to Post regular updates to keep peers informed on progress and to document their learning
So if students were doing extra an online class at coursera.com, making a game on their own or with others, re-doing a previous coursework as a personal revision exercise.
1. Pick something to do, and tell us what it is
2. Let us know how you are getting on
3. There is no rule #3
4. Ask folk for help when you get stuck, and provide advice when you can
This was about as open as possible in terms of objectives as it could be, and the range of projects was appropriately broad. Just about everyone involved focused on programming from the ground up – rather than using existing engines, and most people were also working with ‘programmer art’. So not much chance of winning a Game Jam beauty contest for most entries… at the beginning of this post I said that UNversity is about the process, not the product. It is about creating a community, where people can pick their own priorities, their own projects but still help each other and have a place to turn to when help is needed. In this, it worked for some at least..
As one of the students, Kieran noted on his round-up:
I’ve really enjoyed UNversity this year! … I’ve been very involved helping people with C++ problems and other issues in general. Think it’s one of the best parts of the year to be honest. Lets hope it continues!
'Projects' ranged from one student completing online courses that are probably equivalent to an extra semester of university, to students who worked on one or more game projects that ended in varying stages of completion. But although it was the learning that counted, rather than the product, at the product end, Kieran has been producing the Android port of Wordtrick for Outplay, David released a simple invaders clone on the windows phone marketplace, Bryan produced an online Java game evolved from Asteroids.
Stephen McGroarty the runner up, winning a Microsoft Kinect
and the winner Neil Finlay receiving a Nokia Lumina
Entering UNversity gives students a early exposure to an array of opportunities and to undertake extra curricula learning or research into technologies or processes that will help students gain further insights and experiences.
UNversity simply gives students a chance to show off their abilities and stand out from the crowd, something that's really important in an increasingly crowded graduate job market. It's a great addition to your CV and should be a lot of fun too.
Microsoft is delighted to be supporting UNversity in the form of prize sponsorship and are very pleased with the response we have had from the University of West of Scotland and its students. All Game Studios appreciate competition such as www.imaginecup.com and initiatives such as UNversity as a means of identifying talented individuals. While they also help to create another line of communication between developers and academia. This type of contact between universities and games developers is vital if we hope to increase the quality and quantity of graduate entering in industry. Many of 2012's participants were extremely strong, with a large number having gone on to secure roles in the UK games industry as a result of their participation.
So here is looking forward to UNversity 2013