Global Game Jam comes to campus

ROB BRAUN ’12, MARIAH DONNER ’14, and NICOLE WERLING ’13 review the game they created during a 48-hour international competition in January. Their teammates were ANDREW HOWELL ’12, MIKE SCHMIDT ’12, JULIE MOHEDANO ’13, and alumni JES SCHROEDER ’11 and SHAUN GREINER ’09.

A group of game enthusiasts gathered January 27 in the Caterpillar Global Communications Center to conquer the challenge of creating an original game within 48 hours. This was the fourth year of the international contest known as the Global Game Jam, and the first year for the event on Bradley’s campus. 

More than 10,000 people around the world met at 5 p.m. local time for the announcement of the secret theme, and then had exactly 48 hours to complete and submit their game electronically. Six Bradley students and two alumni worked on various aspects of the game, including idea formation, coding, graphic design, and sound.

Dr. Monica McGill, assistant professor in the Department of Interactive Media and the event’s organizer on campus, believes the Jam was a good opportunity for students to work on their skills outside the classroom, as well as a fantastic resume booster. “The gaming industry is highly competitive, so anything that students do to distinguish themselves is absolutely necessary,” she said.

After surviving the weekend with minimal sleep in the form of naps on couches in interactive media studio classrooms, Bradley’s group created a game called Cyclic. In the game, players start as cavemen and then move back and forth in time depending on their actions. Visit games.bradley.edu for more information on game design and development courses at Bradley.

— Sarah Hallstein ’12


Honoring Peace Corps volunteer posthumously

BLYTHE O’SULLIVAN ’04, who died in December 2007 while serving in the Peace Corps in Suriname, South America, has been honored with the renaming of Bradley’s Lab Theatre in Hartmann Center for the Performing Arts.

O’Sullivan was a business and marketing major but also loved theater. She was active in the department and served on the executive board of the Alpha Psi Omega theatre honor society. 

The Blythe O’Sullivan Studio Theatre, a gift from her parents John and Joan O’Sullivan, is being transformed into an open studio that can be used for practice and performance. So far, the renovations include the installation of a double-thick wall that serves as a sound block, re-leveling the floor, and the additions of a new lighting lab and storage areas.


Rolling with robots 

Above

Tremont High School’s Roboteers, from left, MATT DRAEAR ’13, lead mentor; Katee Murphy; Luke Vetroczky; Dilan Berchtold; and Grace Johnson. 

Online

Click here to see a video of the Roboteers’ robot in action.

Hundreds of high school students from schools in Illinois and Iowa hit the Renaissance Coliseum on January 7 and were given gift boxes. These boxes contained motors, batteries, computers, other components, and three basketballs. They came without instructions, relying on the students’ own ingenuity and creativity to devise the finished product — a robot capable of shooting basketballs.  

It was part of the FIRST Robotics Competition, an annual international challenge in which teams turn their collection of parts into a competitive, working robot.  FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a program founded by Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway PT. Nearly 60,000 students worldwide are participating in the competition, which aims to motivate students to understand and enjoy science and technology. 

After six weeks of design and construction, teams compete in regional events with winners advancing to the championship event in April in St. Louis. 

The program sponsors scholarships for Bradley engineering students. Several Bradley students and alumni served as mentors and advisers. Sponsored by Caterpillar Inc., this was the first time Bradley and the College of Engineering and Technology hosted the kickoff event.