Student Game Design Competition

The CHI PLAY Student Game Competition will provide a unique opportunity for students to showcase their interactive play systems and designs. Students will need to submit a video of their game as well as proof of student status (full-time or part-time, all levels up to Ph.D.). A jury panel will nominate the best submissions for an interactive presentation at the conference, where a panel of experts choose the winners. These nominated teams have to send at least one student member who will register to 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 2020 conference is mandatory.

Important dates (23:59 AoE)

July 15, 2020
Student Game Design Competition submission deadline
August 22, 2020Decisions sent to authors
September 3, 2020
August 30, 2020
Final camera-ready papers due


  • All times are 23:59 Anywhere on Earth (AoE)
  • Up to 4 pages (references excluded) in in SIGCHI interim template
  • A 3 minute gameplay video
  • Proof of student status
  • Optional but recommended: Executable game with 1-2 page technical requirements and installation description
  • Submissions must be made to CHI PLAY 2020 using the Precision Conference System (PCS)
  • Submissions are ANONYMOUS
  • An interactive demonstration (upon acceptance) at the conference


The game has to be new.Games from previous contests that have already received considerable media attention may not be submitted the Game Design Competition.

Teamwork 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 multinational teams are particularly welcome. There is no limit to the number of teams that may compete from any given university.

The competition is 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. Recent graduates who can provide proof of student status within the past year are also eligible.

The 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. However, a fully finished game is not required; a playable demo or demo level is sufficient.

Paper prototypes or non-digital games are not acceptable.

There is flexibility in terms of game specs. The game must contain a meaningful digital component to be eligible. Beyond that, students are allowed to rely on their preferred game engines (Unreal, XNA, Unity 3D, …), devkits and libraries. The games can run on any platform (PC, Mac, console, tablet, PDA, etc.). Games that make use of custom hardware or cannot otherwise be shared easily online are welcome. If you have any concerns about submission constraints please reach out to the SGDC chairs (

Permission needs to be ensured. 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.


The maximum size of all five parts of the anonymous 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. Avoid using file sharing services with expiring links as it may prevent judges from accessing your game. Please keep download time in mind and realize that if a game cannot properly be downloaded, it will be excluded from the review process.

The submission should contain information about the game’s concept, innovations, target audience, technological and game play innovations. 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.

Please do not use the former SIGCHI template but use the interim template instead, for more information, see the submission guidelines.

The gameplay video should be 2-3 minutes long and unambiguously illustrate gameplay and demonstrate the player experience. The gameplay video is particularly important for submissions that make use of custom hardware or peripherals that may not be available to judges. Uploaded videos may be in a common video format (avi, mpeg, mp4, mov, wmv), or a txt file linking to a youtube video.

The executable game is optional, yet strongly recommended. A document with technical requirements and installation description is mandatory when submitting an executable game. 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 gameplay settings), then this part can be omitted, however, obviously, the video play footage will have to demonstrate the game play.

A technical requirements and installation document (when submitting an executable game) should clarify any special requirements around playing the game for judging and any  considerations that may be needed for the presentation of the game during the conference. Additionally, this document can briefly describe any special hardware/peripherals/operating system requirements.

Contestants must prove their student status, at a high school or university during the time of creation of the student game. Being a 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. 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 students at the time of the creation of the game, 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.

Due to going virtual, we are working on updates regarding the submission requirements and conference presentation. For an interim update, please look at our updated Call for Papers.

Review Process

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, and the positioning and articulation of the game’s contribution.

Upon Acceptance

The nominated teams must have at least one student member who will register to attend the conference. This team member is expected to present the game during a Student Game Competition session 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 2020 conference is mandatory.

The camera-ready version of the submission should acknowledge any assistance drawn from outside (advisors, faculty, domain experts, existing solutions, users, etc.). Affiliations should be clear. Supervisor(s) can be added as an author but the first author must be a student.

During the Conference

Upon acceptance, all submissions must be presented during the conference. Nominees should prepare for a brief (less than 10 minutes) pitch and live demo to present their game to the jury and conference visitors during the conference.

In addition to the presentation, all accepted submissions will be showcased on a common webpage for conference attendees to be able to play. This showcase will include the papers, gameplay videos, and links to access and play the games. If a game cannot be made available to remote attendees easily (e.g., it requires custom hardware or specific infrastructure) accommodations can be made for showcasing the game in other ways on a case by case basis. If you have concerns about this please contact the Student Game Design Competition chairs (

After the Conference

Student Game Design Competition papers and 2-3 minute gameplay videos are archived in the ACM Digital Library in the CHI PLAY 2020 Extended Abstracts.

Please direct any questions to

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