Student Game Design Competition

For any questions regarding the Student Game Design Competition, please contact the chairs.


This is the second year of the CHI Play Student Game Competition. The Competition creates a unique opportunity for students from a variety of backgrounds (e.g., computer science, game design, fine arts, HCI) to participate in CHI Play and to showcase a game they have developed (interpreted in a broad manner as any interactive play system) in an international competition. It provides CHI Play attendees with engaging and playable exemplar games that demonstrate emerging student talent and inspire future work.

All nominees will earn a Certificate of Recognition. At the conference, a panel of experts as well as the conference attendees will try out and choose a winner from a set of nominated games. The winning entries will be awarded during the Closing CHI PLAY 2015 ceremony.


Applicants are invited to submit games on any theme or topic. Examples include (but are not limited to): games for learning, games for health and behaviour change, games with novel interfaces, and games that demonstrate innovative game mechanics.

However, since CHI Play is located in London this year, we would also like to encourage applicants to design games that use the theme of the city of London in an innovative way. For example, designs could feature popular London tourist destinations, travel services (the Tube!) or famous London celebrities as characters. Note that this part of the competition is optional but we will award a special London recognition award for the best game that incorporates this theme.

Deadlines and important dates

  • Deadline submission: June 26 2015, 5:00pm PT
  • Notification date for nominees: July 31 2015
  • Camera ready submission paper: August 7 2015
  • Awards are given at the closing ceremony

Eligibility criteria

  • Game has to be new
    • Games from previous contests that have already received considerable media attention may not be submitted the Game Design Competition
  • Team work is allowed
    • The maximum development time of the game should not be higher than 72 person-months. Students might be asked to present a time sheet of the development.
    • Multidisciplinary and multi-national teams are particularly welcome.
    • There is no limit to the number of teams that may compete from any given university.
  • Open to a variety of student profiles
    • All students at various stages of their university careers, full-time or part-time, from undergraduate to postgraduate level (including master’s and doctoral students) can submit their work to the CHI PLAY Student Game Design Competition.
  • Game must be functional
    • This implies that reviewers, jury members and conference attendees are able to play the game or at least a part of the game in order to have a meaningful play experience.
    • A fully finished game is not required; a playable demo or demo level is sufficient.
    • Paper prototypes or non-digital games are not acceptable.
  • Flexibility in terms of game specs
    • Students are allowed to rely on their preferred game engines (Unreal, XNA, Unity 3D,…), devkits and libraries.
    • Games can run on any platform (PC, Mac, console, tablet, PDA, etc.). Students are responsible for bringing the necessary hardware to run their game to the conference.
  • Permission is necessary
    • Before submitting a game, students must have obtained the permission of all persons or entities having any rights in the game. Please ensure that submissions do not contain proprietary or confidential material.

Submission guidelines

Submissions should be anonymized.
Submissions must be made using the Precision Conference System (PCS), including the following parts: 1) extended abstract (mandatory), 2) a game play video (mandatory), 3) executable game (optional) and technical requirements description (mandatory), and 4) a proof of student status (mandatory).

The maximum size of all four parts of the submission combined is 110 MB. If your game submission is large and requires more space, instead of submitting the game itself, submit a text document containing a URL that can be used to download the game, e.g., using a file sharing service such as Dropbox or OneDrive.

  1. Extended Abstract (mandatory):
    • Content: The submission should contain information about the game’s concept, innovations, target audience, technological and game play innovations. Make sure that you mention how your game follows the “London” theme if this appropriate. For games that are part of a research project, the submission should also include research questions methodology, implementation and results as well as explain what background research informed their design decisions, The Extended Abstract must also provide a link to the game play video.
  • Style: PDF file following the SIGCHI Extended Abstract Proceedings Format, with a maximum of 4 pages (including figures and references), adhering to the ACM template, guidelines and styles.
  • Publication: The camera-ready version should acknowledge any assistance drawn from outside (advisors, faculty, domain experts, existing solutions, users, etc.). Affiliations need to be clear. Supervisor can be added as author but the first author must be a student. Accepted submissions will be archived in the ACM Digital Library.
  1. Game play video (mandatory):
    • The game play video includes game play footage. It unambiguously illustrates the game play and demonstrates the player’s experience. Keep in mind, though, that at the conference, the game must be playable by attendees; only showing a game play video is not acceptable.
    • Expected length: about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Executable game (optional, strongly recommended) and document with technical requirements and installation description (mandatory, max. 2 pages)
    • Executable game: If the uploaded game executable is large and cannot be accommodated within the PCS maximum upload of 110 MB for all four parts of the submission, please upload a text document containing a URL that can be used to download the game, e.g., using a file sharing service such as Dropbox or OneDrive. Please keep download time in mind and realize that if a game cannot properly be downloaded, it will be excluded from the review process. If you have built the game in Unity 3D, please provide the game as the web player version. If submitting an executable is not possible (e.g., because of dedicated hardware/software infrastructure or specialized game play settings), then this part can be omitted, however, obviously, the video play footage will have to demonstrate the game play.
    • Technical requirements and installation document: The document should clarify any special requirements around the presentation of the game at the conference, and should clearly list what resources will be required at the conference, such as tables, chairs, network access, lighting constraints, etc. Additionally, this document can briefly describe any special hardware/peripherals/operating system requirements.
  3. Proof of student status (mandatory):
    • Participants must prove enrollment at a high school or university during the time of creation of the student game. It is acceptable but not required for the game to have been created as part of a school or university course.
    • Students must provide either a) a signed letter from their academic supervisor confirming that they were student at the time of the creation of the game. Being student implies that at least 50% of their working week was spent following an academic course or study, and that they were not employed within game-related industries when working on the submission, or b) proof of enrollment in an academic program related to the game project.
    • Each team must provide one proof package – a single file containing scanned proof documents for each team member.

The Competition Procedure

The competition will follow a two-step process.

  1. Nomination among submissions
    • A panel of experts will review submissions and select nominees among the submissions to be presented at the conference.
    • These nominated teams have to send at least one student member who will attend the conference. This team member is expected to present the game during the Student Game Competition Event and take part in the award ceremony.Supervisors are NOT accepted to present the game nor to accept the award. Registration and full attendance of at least one student from the team at the CHI PLAY 2014 conference is mandatory.
  2. Evaluation and awards
    • During the conference, both an expert jury panel and the conference attendees will be able to play and evaluate the nominated games
    • During the conference, two winning teams will be announced:
      • Jury award (top game awarded by the expert jury)
      • Public award (top game awarded by the conference visitors)

Reviewing Criteria

Each submitted game project will be reviewed by academic and/or professional experts in game design and development. Nominees and award winners will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • Originality
  • Quality
  • Positioning and articulation of the game’s contribution (determined through Extended Abstract, short game play video, and if available, playable game)

Practical information for the nominees

  • Equipment and infrastructure: nominees should bring along a playable version of the game and foresee the necessary hardware. At the minimum, power will be provided. If necessary, specific infrastructure and equipment requests can be discussed with the Game Design Competition Chairs.
  • Pitch: nominees should prepare for a brief (5-minute) pitch to present the game to jury and conference visitors. Additionally, we suggest keeping copies of the Extended Abstract paper at the booth to inform visitors.