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SDSU students create their own video games

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BROOKINGS, SD (KELO-AM) As the first-place team, Vraspir and Juusola each will receive a scholarship of up to $1,000 from the SDSU Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science as well as electronic goodies. Their school will receive Microsoft software and their coach gets to keep the plaque.Thirteen teams from South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota were entered in the 10th annual event, which was held in the University Student Union.Each team had the task of creating its own game of "Turnz." Determining what the game would be like and what it would take to get the character to the goal was up to the designers. Vraspir and Juusola dubbed their game "Irving, the Ectoplasm" and used a green blob for its character."We created all our own images and music using Photoshop and Logic programs," Juusola said. Players could use the scroll bar or arrow tab to move through 25 different levels.Juusola said he had done some basic programming, "but nothing to this scale. This is the first game I've ever made."A program without bugsThe game outshined the competition because it had no bugs, Vraspir said. Juusola added, "We have all these other mechanics and levels."Wei Wang, the contest organizer and an assistant professor in the SDSU Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, credited "their technical background and the quality of the presentation."This was the first year for the pair to enter the contest, but they said they plan to be back in 2015. Christine Fiscus, their math teacher, coached the pair. She has known the students since seventh grade and suspected the good friends would also make a good program design team.Judging in the morning session narrowed the competition to six finalists. Those six competed again in the afternoon.Other placersSecond place went to Jared Bitz, the only member on the Sioux Falls Lincoln team. Third went to Trinity Christian High School of Hull, Iowa, with members Jacilee Andringa, Ryan Kroese and Justin King. Trinity Christian's team of Derk Burgers, Shelby Altena and Allyn Brummel finished fourth.Because of inclement weather, three teams made their presentations by Skype, which was a first for the contest.Wang said the contest "provides high school students a great opportunity to practice what they could learn and a great opportunity for SDSU to recruit smart students from the nearby area. It's a win-win."For finishing second, Bitz received a $750 scholarship and third-place team members received a $500 scholarship.

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