MobiLehigh app and gaming competition demands student creativity and computer programming skills

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Lehigh students, judges and middle school students from Broughal Middle School gathered in the STEPS lobby to witness the MobiLehigh competition of student made apps and games on Friday.

Microsoft student partner, Tae Min Hong, ’16, was in charge of the annual event where Lehigh students are given three months to design and build a game using a platform of their choice. The event is sponsored by Microsoft and encourages students to exercise creativity while using their knowledge of computer programming in order to create innovative apps and games.

Most of the students who participated in the event were either Computer Science and Business majors or design majors at Lehigh. They worked together in small teams using each other’s different skills to their advantage when designing a game.

Min Hong, who was also a judge for the competition, explained that there were three different categories of winners at the event in order to elicit a broad range of opinions. Students could win the game or app that was the crowd’s favorite, to the middle school students’ favorite and to the overall winner.

Chase Brewster, ’16, a CSB major and a participant in the event, helped his team create a video game called Cubes, which was showcased on a TV screen set up at his booth. The game is a “3D runner game” with infinite levels and gets faster each time you enter a higher level. Cubes allows players to listen to music as they are playing, and the speed of the music matches the intensity of the level.

Brewster explained that they didn’t use all of the three-month period to create the game.

“We basically locked ourselves in our room last weekend and threw ideas and designs at each other until the game was created,” he said.

The aesthetic and functionality of the game was important to Brewster and his team, and also the aspect of multiplayer support is what made the game stand out among the competition.

“I’m very fluid and I don’t really have a set plan. I just go with what is fun,” Brewster said when explaining the process of creating a video game.

Unlike Brewster and his team, the designers of a game called Tap Box had been working “since day one” on their game, which was an interactive game that could be played on a computer, iPad or iPhone. The designers of Tap Box took advantage of the different skills each person in their team possessed and they said they were able to split up the work well.

Nate Gyory, ’17, a computer engineer major, attended the event and originally hoped to be a participant this year, however, he was too late for the registration deadline. He said he still attended though so he could see the process and the competition before entering in it next year. His favorite game at the event was Cubes because it had infinite levels and it became addicting to play.

Stephen Friedman, ’17, also attended the event as a CSB major hoping to scope out the apps before entering the competition next year. Friedman’s internship at an app company also helped to spark his interest in attending the event and witnessing the innovative ideas come to life.

“Lehigh gives us the tools and background to create apps using our programming knowledge,” Friedman said. “(As a CSB major) we learn the programming side of things but also the business side so that we can go ahead and sell the apps we create.”

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