Student Game Design Competition

The CHI PLAY Student Game Design Competition will provide a unique opportunity for students to showcase their interactive play systems and designs. Students will need to submit a video, including closed captions, of their game as well as proof of student status (full-time or part-time, all levels up to Ph.D.). The jury will nominate the best submissions for an interactive presentation at the conference, where a panel of experts chooses the winners. Nominated teams have to send at least one student member who will attend the conference and present the submission during the Student Game Design Competition. Presenters are expected to be present at the award ceremony. Supervisors and advisors 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 2022 conference are mandatory.

Important dates (23:59 AoE)

July 20, 2022Student Game Design Competition submission deadline
August 16, 2022Decisions sent to authors
August 22, 2022Final camera-ready papers due

Submission

Criteria

The game has to be new. Games from previous contests may not be submitted to the Student 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 timesheet of the development. Multidisciplinary and multinational teams are particularly welcome. There is no limit to the number of teams that may compete at 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. Due to the hybrid format of the conference, games that need additional equipment (e.g, virtual reality headsets, self-made artifacts and controllers) may not be available to be played by reviewers, jury members, and all conference attendees. Still, those kinds of games should be in a state that can be played by the designers in the live stream to be considered for the final evaluation. 

Paper prototypes or games without a digital component are not accepted.

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, …), dev kits, and interaction technologies. 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 (sgdc@chiplay.org).

Submission

The maximum size of all 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. 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, interactive innovations, target audience, and technological and gameplay 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. In their submissions, we explicitly want competitors to elaborate on at least one of the following points:

1 – How does it push the boundaries of the technology they used?

2 – How does it bring new horizons to game design?

3 – How does it engage with societal problems they want to address?

Please follow the general video submission and accessibility guidelines of the conference. The gameplay video should be 3-4 minutes long, with a title slide including the title, name, and affiliation of authors, 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. Please see video guidelines section for our recommendations about the video submissions. We recommend authors take these recommendations into account during their submission because they will be REQUIRED for the camera-ready version, if their submission is accepted and the preparation window for camera-ready submission is only 6 days. 

The executable game is optional, yet strongly recommended. A document with technical requirements and an installation description is mandatory when submitting an executable game. If you have built the game in a game engine that allows web player export, 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 gameplay.

Technical requirements and installation documents (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. In case of the need for special hardware/peripherals/operating system, the authors should clarify how they will accommodate the presentation during the conference. 

Contestants must prove their student status at a high school or university during the time of the 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.

Video Guidelines

Besides the technical video requirements you can see on the website, we have the following instructions for preparing videos for this specific track. 

Preparing the videos with these instructions are REQUIRED for the camera-ready version (which should be prepared if the submission is accepted) but optional for the first submission. Still, we strongly recommend participants prepare their videos based on these guidelines also for their first submission for several reasons. First, the window between the acceptance notification date and the camera-ready deadline is quite narrow and it might be challenging for authors to prepare new videos in this small window. Second, these recommendations can help create a video that reflects the experience induced by your games to players and show a better account of what your games feel like to the expert panel. 

Based on the video instructions for the student game design competition, videos should include:

1 – 3 seconds of showing the title and affiliations

2 – Max. 1 Minute explanation of the game and the aims of the research by the authors

3 – 2-3 Minutes Live Gameplay. Gameplay should be reflected as follows:

  1. Games should be played by players who are not very familiar with the game.
  2. Both the game and the reactions of the players should be shown in the video (e.g, by putting the player and the screen view of the game side-by-side, some examples: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BMfyBgau6k, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odzKEGe_iuk, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArlavrOFpkI)
  3. You can include the gameplay sessions of more than one player for giving the account of different points of view
  4. If a gameplay session does not fit to 2-3 minutes, you are free to edit to highlight the important parts of your game that would give a better impression of how it feels like
  5. You can prompt your players to think aloud while playing so we can understand their reactions better

Your video submission should follow both the technical as well as these track-specific guidelines.

Review Process

Student Game Design Competition submissions will be juried. All identifying information about authors must NOT be anonymized before submission. All selected projects will be finalists at the conference and the winners of the competition will be decided by a jury consisting of academic and/or professional experts in game design and development.

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 2022 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. Due to going hybrid, we are working on updates regarding the submission requirements and exact conference presentation format (this may vary based on the types of games submitted). 

In addition to the presentation, all accepted submissions will be showcased on a common webpage for conference attendees. This showcase may 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 (sgdc@chiplay.org).

Awards

CHI PLAY SGDC will present four awards this year:

1 – Technical Excellence award will be given to the finalist with the best audiovisual (e.g. graphics, sound) and technical (e.g. no bugs) quality. 

2 – Experimental Gameplay award will be given to the finalist who pushes the boundaries of game design through the experimental and novel implementation of game mechanics and/or used technologies

3 – Societal Impact award will be given to the finalist that addresses an important societal issue the best through game design.

4 – The Audience award will be given to the finalist that will get the most vote from the conference participants. 

The awards can be given to a single or multiple game(s). The expert jury panel may also decide not to grant some of the awards if none of the finalists satisfy the criteria mentioned above. Technical Excellence, Experimental Gameplay and Societal Impact awards will be decided by the expert panel while the Audience Award will be decided by the votes of the participants during the conference. 

After the Conference

Student Game Design Competition papers and 3-4 minute gameplay videos are archived in the ACM Digital Library in the CHI PLAY 2022 Extended Abstracts.

Please direct any questions to sgdc@chiplay.acm.org.

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