13 Years!

Participating in the Challenge

Overview

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 April/May.

To build their game, teams must design the gameplay, 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)

Each season of OGPC brings a new theme – your mission is to develop a game that incorporates and explores that theme. Then, bring your project to the Main Event to get feedback on your project and play the games made by dozens of other teams.

Beginners welcome!

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, don’t buy any resources, and have fun!

Get Started

Sound like fun? Join a local team (most teams come from schools or clubs like 4H) and get started. Don’t know of any local teams? Start a new one!
Every team needs:

  • 2-7 team members.
  • An adult (teacher/parent) to serve as the coach. The coach does not need to be an expert – just someone who can help the team organize logistics like meetings and transportation to the main event.

Teams will need to build an original story and characters, create art, write code, manage their time, and present their project. So it helps to have a wide variety of skills on a team. Not everyone needs to be a programmer or an artist!

Detailed information including rules and scoring for the 2019-2020 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). This video explains your role as a coach:

The OGPC season kicks off in November, at which point you can create your teams in our Team Management System (TMS) and register for the Main Event. Registration stays open until we run out of space, or a month out from the main event, whichever comes first. If your teams do not get started in November, fear not – many teams do not really get rolling until after the winter break or even the start of second semester.

To get updates, make sure you sign up on our mailing list as a coach:

Volunteer

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 roles, 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 get on our mailing list as a volunteer. We use that to reach out for help for the Main Event each spring as well as when we need help on a special project. If you have a specific idea for some way you could help make OGPC better, please get in contact with us at info@ogpc.info.

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. And you often work with a team of judges who are professionals in the area, or have been judges in the category before.

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 much 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!

Still Have Questions?

Feel free to contact us or view our FAQ to get answers to common questions.