Lancaster University

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San Francisco beckons for Nokia Competition winners

03/13/2009 11:21:31

Lancaster University students have been given a chance to shape the future of mobile gaming in the UK Heat of the Forum Nokia Mobile Games Competition 2009.

More than 40 students from different disciplines attended GameJam@InfoLab21 – a 24hr mobile game design competition for university students initiated by Forum Nokia and co-organized by the Mobile Radicals at Lancaster University.

The competition, which was held at InfoLab21, the University’s centre of Excellence for ICT on February 27 and 28, provided students with the unique opportunity to hear from leading experts in design, games and innovation together with Nokia Champions Dr Paul Coulton and Dr Reuben Edwards.

The contest saw students working away in to the small hours at InfoLab21 - eating, sleeping and breathing mobile games. The winners of the UK heat now have the chance to go through to the next round of the competition where they could win an all-expenses paid trip to San Francisco and present their game design at the Game Developers Conference (GDC).

Lancaster University has great strengths in mobile gaming.

Dr Paul Coulton said: “At Lancaster we have been researching in mobile gaming since its inception only ten years ago and have done much to pioneer gaming experiences unique to the mobile phone. We allow the general public to download and experience our games for themselves – for example two of our mobile widget games have in excess of 1 million users between them.

“This has earned us an international reputation within the Industry – enabling us to run competitions such as this one in collaboration with Nokia and N-Gage and having regular invites to speak at the main industry event GDC.”

The two winning games were Gardens of Karma and LiveIT.

Gardens of Karma created by Infolab21 students Carlos Garcia Wylie, Kate Lund, and Mark Lochrie encourages people to perform small acts kindness which enable them to grow a Garden of Karma - displayed on their own phone and can be linked social networking sites such as OVI and Facebook.

LiveIT, created by Lancaster University Management School students Lucy Read, Przemyslaw Kowalski, and Costantinos Rougeris. is a Location-based Advert game allowing players to find, buy and trade virtual objects which are unique and geo-referenced.

The event was supported by Nokia, InfoLab21 and North West Vision + Media, which works on behalf of the digital and creative industries in the Northwest to grow a world-class digital and creative economy within the region.

Enda Carey, Head of Games and Digital Content at Northwest Vision and Media, is a judge at the event. He said: “As part of our remit to support the digital and creative industries within the Northwest we are keen support up and coming talent within this sector. Game Jam gave us a great opportunity to do this and as a judge I was impressed with the level of innovative and creative ideas produced as a result of the competition.”