Contest inspiring future game designers
Gaming enthusiasts and students have been putting their game-making skills to the test with the University of Cumbria.
The university’s Institute of Arts has hosted a return of its open GameJam competition, inviting participants to design a new video, concept art, or tabletop game within 72 hours.
Judges included Glasgow-based artists Christina Myrvold and Omercan Cirit, from the educational 2D/3D-focused YouTube channel Polycosm, and award-winning North East game industry professional and researcher Dr Ian Sturrock.
At the university’s Brampton Road campus Dr Sturrock encouraged students to step away from their consoles and games to become more creative and improve their chances of future career success.
Delivering a talk on ‘creativity’, he said students should always ‘think with a pencil’, form ideas on paper, and source as much art and cultural inspiration from the world around them to help them better develop the work they do.
Dr Sturrock said: “Having taught lots of students from different backgrounds and in different areas, it is often those doing game design who resist this the most.
“To get great games you just can’t think about and do gaming, because you just end up copying. That is what is good about a Gamejam. It allows people freedom to come up with outrageous ideas and work with people and ideas they’ve never done before, developing skills like teamwork and also building confidence.”
Planned by game design lecturers Nimue Von-Lind and Lucian Toma, GameJam kicked off with the unveiling of the theme – Stretched Yellow Ninjas.
Nimue Von-Lind said: “We thank Ian for joining us for our GameJam 2023 and talking to our students and our live-streaming audience about creativity. Visiting industry professionals like Ian, Christina and Omercan provide opportunities for our students to learn how their own developing skills will help them progress onto what they want to do next and into successful careers in their chosen creative fields.”
Picture: Game Design lecturer Nimue Von-Lind with Dr Ian Sturrock
Winners were second-year BA (Hons) Games Design students Charlie Anderson and Suki Shek, and an honorary mention was given to Alex Richardson for their design.
Video game winner Charlie, from Carlisle, said: “I’ve liked the challenge of it, doing something so quickly in just a few days. It has really focused me.”
From Dumfries, Suki, winner of the concept art category, said: “I’ve enjoyed developing my characters and concept and really pleased to win. I had fun using limited colour palettes to represent the theme ‘Yellow’ and coming up with ideas relating to ‘stretched’ and ‘Ninjas’. I wanted to convey the feeling they are Ninjas with modern twist to them.”
Picture: second-year BA (Hons) Game Design students Charlie Anderson and Suki Shek
Third-year student Hannah Roberts, who also took part in the competition, said: “It’s been really good to work with other people, to learn what their individual skills and talents are, and how to collaborate together.”
Dr Sturrock’s ‘Creativity’ lecture is available to watch on YouTube (below).
Interested in studying at the Institute of Arts? Find out more at an open day, at the university’s Brampton Road campus in Carlisle, on Thursday, 26 April, 3pm-7pm. Full details and book places here, https://tinyurl.com/mt499jcc
Notes to editors
1 (MAIN PICTURE) (l-r) University of Cumbria GameJam 2023: keynote speaker and judging panel member Dr Ian Sturrock, winners Charlie Anderson and Suki Shek, and university Game Design lecturers Nimue Von-Lind and Lucian Toma
2 (l-r) University of Cumbria GameJam 2023: Senior lecturer in Game Design Nimue Von-Lind with award-winning game industry professional and judging panel member Dr Ian Sturrock
3 (l-r) University of Cumbria GameJam 2023 winners: second-year BA (Hons) Game Design students Charlie Anderson (video game) and Suki Shek (concept art).
4 & 5: Slides of Charlie and Suki’s winning entries
Nimue Von-Lind and Lucian Toma are available for interview. Contact the university communications team at email@example.com or call 01228 279360