Computer science students leveled up their skills in this year’s annual Game Programming Competition.
The 19th annual competition, presented by the Department of Computer Science in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, showcased the work of student teams who created innovative 2D or 3D video games. This year’s event on May 12 was offered in-person in the Student Activities Center auditorium and live-streamed on the competition’s Twitch channel.
The 12 finalists were selected by computer science faculty from more than 40 games developed in computer science courses CSE 380 2D Game Programming and CSE 381 3D Game Programming. Teams of finalists presented their games to an audience of more than 100 students, family and community members.
Games were judged based on programming skills and creativity. Some teams developed original music scores to accompany the game, changing music tempo based on the level. The competition allows students to engage in experiential learning while collaborating with peers on innovative projects and sharpening programming skills.
The panel of judges included alumni from the competition who now work at companies such as Google, Microsoft and Paramount, as well as several former presidents of the Game Development and Design Club.
The winner of this year’s competition was “Echoes of the Subterra,” presented by Jacob Barrett on behalf of his team, which also included David Wei and Han Yan. Trapped in a mysterious cave, the player navigates a plane through obstacles and enemies to escape.
Barrett, a graduating senior in the Department of Computer Science, noted the impact of the competition on his Stony Brook experience. “This was probably the most fun thing I worked on the entirety of my college years,” he said. “Graduating next week, I’m just happy to have done something so fun that meant so much.”
Barrett said he hopes to continue working in gaming development.
The runner-up was “Infinite Night,” created by Chuangfa Liang, Jack Manning and Isabella Misanes. The 2D, first-person puzzle game is reminiscent of an escape room in which a trapped custodian must solve clues and complete tasks in order to escape the office building.
“What I liked in the games this year is the variety of ideas and implementations,” said Richard McKenna, lecturer in the Department of Computer Science and founder and coordinator of the competition, who also developed the Wolfie2D game engine used to implement the 2D games. “It is also so great to see alumni who once upon a time were finalists in this competition return as judges, and I can’t say enough about the students from the Game Development and Design Club here on campus. They are so great and do so much to help plan and run the competition. We are already talking about how to make next year’s 20th competition special and how to improve from this year.”
Playable versions of the games are available on the competition website.
— Beth Squire