Game Dev Contest

Game Dev Contest


This year’s programming contest will be a bit different. We are doing a
hack-a-thon. These are fun events that encourage you to learn new programming
skills over time in a team.

We will have a game programming theme this year. To keep things fair, we
will allow games in two formats: Scratch (the well-known tool from MIT)
and Twine, a free tool for building choose-your-own text adventures. Your
challenge is to build an original game using one of these tools.

Overview of Scratch

Scratch is a powerful tool for
exploring many programming concepts. You can write your game entirely on
the web, and you will use many of the tools of modern programming without
the need to type code in. While Scratch is often used with young children,
it is a quite capable game engine in its own right, and is ideal for
exploring 2D games with real-time interaction. It’s great for arcade-style
games, and has been used to build all kinds of very interesting games.

Scratch videos

Here’s a video course on building games in Scratch — from scratch!


The other option for the game contest this year is an amazing tool called
twine. This is a different kind of game
engine, designed for writing a different kind of game. Twine is all about
‘choose your own adventure’ style games. At its most basic, you can create
nodes which allow you to build very complex games with many choices, using
very little programming. Once you get your game going, you can use a
scripting language called Harlowe to change how your game looks, and add
interactivity like inventory and combat systems.

Twine course

Here is a set of examples and videos that walks you through Twine from the
very basics all the way to building a sophisticated game with custom


Since this is a new topic for many programmers, each team will be assigned an IUPUI student to serve
as the team coach. This coach will be available via zoom to help with the project design and
implementation. You will still need to write the code entirely on your own, but the coach is there to
help you learn new things you might not know how to do yet.

Scoring and Presentation

You will have at least a month to work on your project, with consultation from your coach and your
high school teacher. You will submit your final project about a week before the CS day event, and we
will score the projects before the event. You may be asked to prepare a presentation of your project,
so you should assume that you’ll need a two-minute quick overview of what your project does
and how it works.

The scoring rubric will be released before the formal start of the competition, but will likely involve
at least these components:

  • Creativity
    – What clever game idea did you come up with? How did you play around with a new mechanic or concept?
    How interesting is your topic and presentation?
  • Documentation – How good is your planning and final documentation? Did you clearly
    delineate what you were trying to accomplish? Did you set up a reasonable schedule with clearly-marked
    milestones? Did you explain to the user how to play the game?
  • Coding Style – Did you use a strong coding style? did you name things well? Did you
    incorporate comments as allowed by your engine? Did you use appropriate indentation and code layout?
    Did you break complex concepts into simpler ones?
  • Complexity – Did you stick with safe but simple, or did you push the limits of the
    tool? How much effort did you put into creating interesting and new mechanics or features?
  • Professionalism – Does the program work well without flaws and hiccups? Is it
    easy for the player to get started with?
  • Aesthetics – Did you build custom graphics and sound effects? Did you try to use
    animation? Does your game have a sense of style and atmosphere adding to the gameplay?
  • Presentation – Did you have a solid presentation that confidently shows the features
    of your game? Did you present well?

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