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LU students place in top 15 in national app competition

By: Heidi Ulrichsen - Sudbury Northern Life

 | Feb 11, 2014 - 3:59 PM |
Laurentian University students placed in the top 15 in the Great Canadian Appathon, a 48-hour-long game app programming competition, which took place last month. Supplied photo.

Laurentian University students placed in the top 15 in the Great Canadian Appathon, a 48-hour-long game app programming competition, which took place last month. Supplied photo.

Little sleep but lots of fun in 48-hour programming contest

Alexi Turcotte said he didn't get a whole lot of shut-eye while participating in a 48-hour-long competition to develop the best mobile game app for phones and tablets last month.

But the third-year Laurentian University math and computer science student said he did have a whole lot of fun and get some great experience during the Great Canadian Appathon, which took place Jan. 17-19.

Four teams from Laurentian entered the contest, eating and sleeping at the university while they developed their game apps.

Turcotte said his team, which also included fellow Laurentian students Roxanne Henry, Ellen Arteca and Michael Daoust, was given the theme they had to develop the game around fantasy — five hours early.

“You would throw an idea together in five hours, and then you would spend 48 hours blindly programming away,” he said.

Turcotte explains that in the typical fantasy game, a character is sent out on a quest, and is rewarded if they're successful.

“But in our game, you actually played the quest-giver,” he said. “You had to manage the adventurers coming to you, and tell them where to go.”

The judges must have liked the game developed by Turcotte's team, as they placed in the top 15 in the competition, which was entered by nearly 140 teams from post-secondary institutions across Canada.

The three other Laurentian teams didn't place in the competition.

If they'd won the competition, they would have received $25,000 to further develop their game.

However, the teams who reached the top 15 have been invited to another programming competition — the Canadian Open Data Experience, which will take place in Toronto Feb. 28.

This competition involves developing an app based on government data available at data.gc.ca.

Aaron Langille, the Laurentian computer science professor who co-ordinated the competition at the university, said he's pleased with his students' performance.

“I am extraordinarily proud of the effort they put in and the results they've achieved,” he said.

To learn more about the competition, visit greatcanadianappathon.com.

Did you know?

The students' participation in the Great Canadian Appathon comes as Laurentian gears up to offer a specialization in game design as part of its Bachelor of Computer Science degree as of next fall.

@heidi_ulrichsen
Heidi Ulrichsen

Heidi Ulrichsen

Staff Writer

@heidi_ulrichsen

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