"Right now, you're looking at the ocean. You have a command ship and a large oil spill in the middle."
The words come from a University of Houston computer science student as he demonstrates his team's entry in the Microsoft U.S. Imagine Cup 2012 Finals. Three of the six teams represented in the contest are from UH.
"One of the goals of the game is to save the wildlife that may be caught up in the oil…so if I move the dinghy over the dolphin it will attempt to save the it," he continues.
The teams were given the charge to design games for Xbox/Windows or Windows phone that imagines a world where technology helps to solve some of the world's toughest global issues. In addition to the oil spill clean up game, teams designed games to restore ocean life destroyed by pollution and kill bacteria that threaten water sources in developing countries.
"Games don't always have to be about fighting and killing. We can use games for education and public awareness," said research assistant professor Chang Yun, who directs the Interactive Game Development Program.
The teams each took three months to design multi-level games reflecting the United Nation's Millennium Goals, which include fighting poverty and hunger, promoting renewable energy and the environment.
"By playing the games you learn more about these issues and perhaps some solutions to these issues," Yun said.
UH's computer science department has a legacy of success at the Imagine Cup. In 2011, four UH teams competed in the U.S. finals, bringing home first and second place in mobile game design andthird place in Windows/Xbox game design. Two teams brought home second and third place in the 2010 nationals.
Gaming is part of what's happening at the University of Houston. I'm Marisa Ramirez.
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