With OGPC, teams make video games in order to explore various STEM/STEAM disciplines while having loads of fun. Each year, OGPC announces a new theme (examples of past themes include “Urban Planning”, “Internal Obstacles” and “What Makes a Hero?”) A team’s primary objective is to build a game that explores that theme and share it at the OGPC main showcase event in May.
To build their game, teams must design the game play rules and goals, write a story and develop characters, create art for the visuals, record sound and music, and wire it all together using game development tools. Then, at the main event, they must present their work to professional judges for feedback and awards. Looking to compete, coach or volunteer to help out? Below you can find out how.
Form a team and compete (6th-12th grade)
The object is to create a digital game that follows the year’s theme. There’s no one right way to do it. Some teams come to OGPC with experience, while many others are trying it for the first time. Our challenge is flexible enough so that even first-time teams can compete without being overwhelmed.
With so many free, open source game creation engines and tutorials available online, there’s never been an easier (or more exciting!) time to try out game development. By following tutorials and using drag-and-drop tools, you’ll find your graphics, sounds, and music come together into a game easier than you thought possible.
Write a mobile or desktop game, use a flight controller, a gamepad, the keyboard, or even Oculus Rift! The only rules are to keep it appropriate for a school setting, respect copyright, and have fun!
Sound like fun? Join a local team and get started. No team in your area? Start a new one! Up to seven students in middle or high school can come together to be a team. Teams are usually made up of programmers, artists, writers, sound/music creators, or whatever they need. Write an original story and characters, then create something that follows the theme. The only requirements are to find a coach (a parent or teacher is ideal) and access to software creation tools.
Detailed information including rules and scoring for the 2018-2019 OGPC season can be found on the season page.
Check out some of our past submissions and winners at our team management site.
Coach a team
Ready to make a difference to a group of talented students? Volunteer as a coach to help guide them to the competition. Many OGPC team coaches are parents or teachers involved with middle and high school technology education. Coaches don’t need to be programmers or artists themselves. The main job is to help keep the team organized, make sure that they make steady progress, and to get them ready for the Main Event (including registration).
To get started, use the button below to get added to our mailing list. We’ll let you know about the kick-off in November (Game Jam) and how the season works. We also hold conference calls throughout the season to check in on teams and make sure things are on track. After the kickoff, you can create your teams in our Team Management System (TMS), and invite your team members to join. About a month and a half before the Main Event in May, official event registration will open. Read the linked Coaches Guide for more details!
Interested in volunteering?
OGPC requires dozens of volunteers every year and we are always looking for more help. There are many ways that volunteers contribute to the success of OGPC, but our biggest needs are for judges and speakers. See below for detailed descriptions of those roles. If you don’t feel comfortable volunteering in one of those rolls, fear not. We also need help with basic event logistics. And if you have a special skill you think might be of use, let us know.
If you’re interested in volunteering in any capacity, please fill out our volunteer interest form. It will let us know who you are and what you are interested in doing.
Volunteering as a Judge
Our greatest volunteer need for the Main Event is judging! Fortunately it is also one of the more fun jobs – you get to spend the day checking out games and talking to participants. Judges evaluate teams and their products as well as give candid, constructive feedback. There are multiple judging areas… If you have a background in programming, art, game design or project management, great, we need your skills. If not, fear not, many of the achievements that need to be scored do not require special skills to evaluate.
Volunteering as a Speaker
Part of the OGPC experience is the interaction between the students and industry professionals. The idea of working in games and related fields seems like a dream to many of the kids. Hearing first-hand accounts of how projects unfold, how teams work together, and what’s possible in the real world can be a huge source of motivation. To this end, we host a wide range of professional gaming and software industry speakers every year. Most of the speakers address the students in small (15-20) groups throughout the day so they can interact one-on-one with questions and great discussion. We also have a keynote presentation during the final assembly of the day which is addressed to all the attendees together before the awards ceremony.
Volunteering as an organizer
OGPC isn’t just a one-day event. There’s marketing, sponsorships, outreach, web updates, software development, event planning, and more that needs to be done through the year! Join our planning group or help out with your skills and talents. We’re all unpaid, but it’s a rewarding way to spend your time. Help make a better experience for our teams!