EPSCoR to hold 'Game Jam' June 22–29

by Alaska NSF EPSCoR  |   

Solstice Game Jam 2020 posterAlaska NSF EPSCoR is excited to announce it will be hosting an online Game Jam event, in which participants compete to design games — ranging from highly technical code-based video games to classic board games. The “Solstice Game Jam” will run from June 22–29, and is free to enter and open to all ages.

Game Jams across the world have led to some really creative products,” said EPSCoR Data Visualization Specialist Cassidy Phillips, co-organizer of the Game Jam. “We’re excited to see what sort of fun games that Alaskans can come up with.”

The event will be open to both individuals and teams. It will begin at noon Alaska time on Monday, June 22 with a brief video introduction via Zoom. Teams and individuals will then be on their own to design the games. They’ll be provided with a list of popular platforms they can use for game design, or can adopt whatever code or platform they choose. At noon on June 29 they’ll have the opportunity to demonstrate and discuss the games on another Zoom call. A four-person panel will judge the entries and give out first, second and third-place awards, and everyone will also receive a participation award. All entries will then be posted on the itch.io game-sharing website.

Alaska NSF EPSCoR (Alaska National Science Foundation Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) is a statewide organization dedicated to increasing the state’s research capacity. It’s currently working on a project called “Fire and Ice,” which is studying climate-driven changes to wildfires in the boreal forest and to ecosystems and organisms in the Gulf of Alaska. The Game Jam will thus have a “Fire and Ice” theme, and contestants will be encouraged to adopt elements of Fire and/or Ice in their games.

“EPSCoR does research, but it also does outreach and education,” Phillips explained. “Part of its job is to help get Alaskans interested in science and tech fields, which is where the Game Jam comes in.”

For more information about the Game Jam, and to register, please visit the Solsitce Game Jam website. People can form their own teams or enter as individuals, or can elect to be placed on a team. The event will be based at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and is principally aimed at Alaskans, but all portions of the Game Jam will be conducted via Zoom so entrants are welcome from everywhere.

The first, second and third-place prizes will be Steam keys, which provide access to download games from the popular gaming platform, in the respective amounts of $250, $150 and $100. For teams, prizes will be split between team members equally.

For more details, contact Cassidy Phillips at chphillips@alaska.edu. More information will also be emailed to all entrants prior to the start of the event.

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