CNA students and graduates participate in Sci-fi on the Rock

5/2/2013 2:14:19 PM

Students and graduates of College of the North Atlantic’s Media Arts Centre took part in the game development jam as part of Sci-Fi on the Rock in St. John’s April 26-28.

A number of students and graduates of College of the North Atlantic’s (CNA) Media Arts Centre took part in the game development jam as part of Sci-Fi on the Rock in St. John’s this past weekend.
The seventh annual Sci-Fi on the Rock was held April 26-28 with nine students and eight graduates of the Video Game Design program, and one Digital Animation student attending.
During the convention the second annual IGDA Newfoundland Game Developer’s Jam, a 48-hour organized event for rapidly prototyping game designs, took place. Teams were given the task to design a video game based around an overall theme. During the 48-hour timeframe, teams created video games, which were then developed and tested.
“The purpose of the game jam is to inspire students and game developer hobbyists to be innovative and create a game prototype in one weekend,” says Janice Hertel, instructor of the Video Game Design program at CNA and organizer of the game jam. “It is an opportunity for collaboration and meeting other independent game developers, as well as presenting the games to the public at the conference.”
Hertel says the game jam went extremely well again this year.
“The crowd was enthusiastic about the games. They had questions for the developers after the presentation and some conference attendees had a chance to test the games. They seemed to enjoy the presentation,” Hertel says.
“The game jam is an exciting and challenging experience,” says first-year student Kelsey Power. “It is a great opportunity for students. Balancing team dynamics, assigning tasks, and document writing are all highly fundamental skills in game development; the game-jam gives us a chance to exercise and test these newly acquired skills in a fast paced environment. The reward in the end is knowing that you can do it."
First-year student Gregory Sweetapple says the game jam was a fun experience.
“I was in a team of four and we had two days to conceptualize and build a working prototype of a game. Within that frame of time we had a working puzzle game with five separate levels, an original soundtrack and great pixel art,” Sweetapple says. “By participating in the game jam I was able to work on developing a game with my friends over an incredibly fun weekend, present my work to a convention full of people and promote myself as a potential audio designer. It’s by far the most fun I’ve had since joining the program.”
According to Keith Makse, a Sci-Fi on the Rock committee member, the 2013 event was the most successful to date with over 4,000 people attending throughout the weekend.
“We had a very keen and interested audience and I think we can develop a lot of interest in video game development,” Makse says of the game developer’s jam. “Janice did a fantastic job with her students and additional participants in the game jam, and she has a lot to be proud of with her students. The games they created in a 48-hour period were all unique, and quite skillfully developed!”
For more information about the CNA’s Video Game Design program, visit
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