Students clean up at GCU Game Jam

15 July 2014

A shot from the winning game

A shot from the winning game

Sewer Sweeper was the winning design at this summer’s Game Jam.

Students from Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) joined forces with researchers as part of the latest 48-hour ‘jam’ to help raise awareness of a European research project.

Organised by the School of Engineering and Built Environment, students from the BSc Computer Games Design programme created digital games and applications from scratch in just two days.

The games focused on the noPILLS research project, which is a long-term venture aimed at reducing pharmaceutical micro-pollutants in the water cycle.

The noPILLS team was keen to explore the role of new media, games and apps, initially in the UK, but eventually also in a wider European setting, and plan to translate the most promising applications into other European languages, releasing them in partner countries.

The winning game is described as “The Matrix meets Star Wars” and was designed by Kenny Campbell, Elliot Gibb, David Carr and Stephen King. It was chosen by a panel consisting of Dr Romana Ramzan, Dr Ole Pahl, Dr Warren Chang, Dr Paul Teedon and Kerstin Stuhr.

Dr Ramzan, lecturer and Game Jam organiser, said: "The teams did a fantastic job of tackling such a difficult project. We are delighted with the outcome.

“Sewer Sweeper is a shoot ‘em up game.  The aim is to progress through the levels and clean the city's receiving water.  As the game uses different sources of pollutants as targets, there is a learning element to it, too.

“The winning team and the two runners up will now have the opportunity to pitch their game concepts to the research partners in Zurich at the end of September. It’s an incredible opportunity for them and hopefully we’ll see these concepts realised into fully-fleshed products that can help engage and raise awareness of the noPILLS project.”

Dr Pahl, a GCU chemical engineer and principal investigator on the noPILLS project, said: “We were looking for ideas that make a complex scientific and environmental issue understandable and accessible.”

Previous Game Jams saw participants work to raise the profile of the GCU-supported Gathering the Voices project through the creation of digital educational resources inspired by the experiences of Jewish refugees who fled persecution as children in the 1930s and 1940s to start new lives in Scotland.

These digital applications were then used as part of Gathering the Voices educational packs in a number of Glasgow schools as part of the Curriculum for Excellence.