Eight student teams (each with eight members) showed up at the Full Sail Live Venue last Friday afternoon, knowing they were about to take place in a 48-hour Game Jam-style hackathon and knowing they were going to be creating an action game for WWE. Then they were given the twists: the game needed to cater to audiences age 7 and up and it needed to be compatible with smart phones and portable devices.
With that information, the 64 students spent the next 48 hours on campus, forgoing sleep to create prototype pitches for their new games. The pitch had to include an interactive prototype of the game in action and a focus document that further explained the components of the game.
Six judges from the WWE and other communications and technology companies reviewed all of the projects on Sunday afternoon, evaluating them based on creativity, game play, execution, storytelling, and aesthetics. In a “closing ceremony” celebration back in Full Sail Live on Sunday evening, Team Synapse was named the winner of the Hackathon and was presented with a check for $5,000. Team Vorpal came in second (winning $3,000) and Team High Five Games took third place (winning $1,000). The winning game prototypes are now with WWE for potential development.
“The judges had never done this before and didn’t know what to expect,” says Game Development Course Director Steve VanZandt, who helped organize and oversee the event. “And when they actually saw the games, they were very satisfied. They were surprised at how much was done in so little time.”