Making Games at Birmingham City University

The BSc (Hons) Computer Games Technology course is now into it’s fourth year and continues to go from strength to strength as a result of input from industry and the excellent work produced by our students.

Microsoft’s Imagine Cup

This year saw no let up in the activities that we were involved with. The year started with the first and second year students preparing for Microsoft’s International competition the Imagine Cup, an annual technology competition aimed at bringing together student innovators from all over the world. If successful winning teams would get to compete on a global stage in St. Petersburg in Russia and have the chance of winning up to $50,000.

By late March the teams were making great progress. Examples of work include Gravity Master, The Journey Home and Gunslinger from the first year teams. The Second year’s games included The Immortal, Vampire Legacy, The Eye of Moscow, SquidDelta and Trolley Racer.

At this point we were asked by Microsoft if we could host a regional heat of the Imagine Cup.  To which we duly obliged.

Imagine Cup BCU

The judges from both Microsoft and Birmingham Science Park had a hard time judging the high standard of entries and were very impressed with all the teams who took part.

“It was great to join the BCU students as they pitched their game ideas for the Imagine Cup, it’s fantastic to see such promising talent emerging from the region which is so close to the heart of what LAUNCH Future Gaming and Digital Conference is all about.  We had real difficulty coming up with the final three teams as Birmingham has an incredible talent pool of young developers, artists and designers, I wish the finalists the very best of luck for this year’s competition.” Pia Pearson, Launch, Birmingham Science Park.

“I have been up and down the country for the past few months, scouting great teams and apps to put forward to the Imagine Cup Finals in April. I was so impressed by the standard of the teams that presented, and every team’s game deserved a place in the finals. Sadly I only had three places to offer, but I have high hopes that the three we have chosen are all possible winners!  Best of luck to all the teams that took part, and those that have got through to the final. Whether they got through or not, they all have so much potential to be great.”  Natasha Joseph, Microsoft.

Three teams made up of students from our BSc (Hons) Computer Games Technology and BA (Hons) Animation for Games Design were eventually selected to represent the University and the West Midlands region at the national finals at University College London.

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BCU hosts Microsoft Windows gaming awareness event

In March we were also fortunate to be asked to host the first ever Microsoft’s Windows gaming awareness event, yet more testament to our growing reputation in the field of computer games. So much so that I was also asked to do a guest blog for them “Scirra Construct2 a tool for students to rapidly develop games for Windows 8”.

At the Windows gaming awareness academics from as far a field as Glasgow and London visited the our University to share their experiences from their own courses and demonstrate how they have been using Microsoft’s technologies to further their student’s skills in game development for the new Windows 8 and Windows Phone platforms.

It also provided the opportunity to promote Microsoft’s App Builder rewards initiative where students can develop and publish both games and applications and receive rewards for doing so, giving them the opportunity to enhance their portfolio of skills, CV and employability.

Delegates were also given the opportunity to hear about the successes of our University’s award wining Student Academic Partner programme and how this initiative has been enhancing both our engagement with our students and their ability to actively contribute to the development of their courses including Computer Games Technology.

Thanks to this SAP scheme second year student Usman Mohammad has developed cutting-edge teaching material for game development which has caught the attention of Microsoft and published to their faculty connection site an international resource for teaching material both for colleges and Universities.

This was part of a bigger project aimed at master classes and outreach initiatives which Birmingham City University run, helping to provide young people with an insight into University life.

Student invited to present to gaming industry professionals at LAUNCH Future Gaming and Digital Conference  

Four of our students Arvin Parrenas, Usman Mohammad, Mo Chowdhur and Jake Nowak

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had the opportunity of furthering their own career and reputation as game developers by being invited to talk to ninety industry professionals at the Launch Presents: Microsoft conference recounting their experience in game development and highlighting how they see their careers develop.

So the end (nearly) of another successful and great academic year filled with successes for our students. Look forward to seeing what the next year brings……

If you would like to keep up with what happens on our course you can follow us @BCUGAMESTECH.