Posted on Wednesday, May 20, 2009
The video games of the future are being designed right here at Hobart and William Smith. At the Third Annual Games4Girls competition, a team of rising William Smith seniors tied for third with Cornell University and the University of South Carolina for their globetrotting game: "Jetsetter." Katelyn Tyson '10, Meghan Cox '10, Laura Valdmanis '10 and Sara Young '10 are the computer mavens who created, designed and executed a program that was so innovative that it earned them third place in this year's competition.
Games4Girls, a computer science contest hosted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champlain, allows teams of four to five women to compete against one another to create the most innovative computer game for elementary and middle school aged girls. The competition's goal is to encourage young women to get involved in and be interested in computer science.
This year, William Smith students showed how they have gotten involved in the field by designing "Jetsetter," a computer game that allows players to "jet-set" around the world to visit foreign countries, allowing them to do everything from navigate mazes in an Egyptian tomb to helping the environment in China and much more. Earlier in the month, a demo of the game was held on campus.
Members of this year's award-winning team noted changes at the competition in contrast to years past. The William Smith students and all student competitors were required to use Gamemaker, a PC-based computer software program that simplifies making computer games, enabling less skilled users to compete against more advanced teams.
"Games4Girls was a whole lot of fun, start to finish," Tyson said. "We had a great time throughout the whole process, from the concept to working out the little bugs and errors to creating a final product: a game for girls to enjoy."
William Smith students have been participating in the competition since it began in 2006 and have always placed in it. The team has received a prize of $1,000 and an award plaque.
In the photo above, Associate Professor of Computer Science Carol Critchlow plays "jetsetter," a computer game created by William Smith juniors Katelyn Tyson, Meghan Cox, Laura Valdmanis and Sara Young.