Three UH Teams Selected for 2012 Imagine Cup Finals

Three UH Teams Selected for 2012 Imagine Cup Finals
Half of Competition’s Finalists are from UH

Imagine CupThree University of Houston teams are advancing to the Imagine Cup 2012 U.S. Finals. The teams – Eager Beavers PC, Zigers and Wasabi Ninja – are competing in the game design category. The students are part of the Department of Computer Science’s Interactive Game Development Program.

“Microsoft picks only six teams in the fall finalist selection, so UH is dominating the finals again,” said Chang Yun, Ph.D., an instructional/research assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science.

Teams choose between two tracks in the game design competition – Xbox/Windows and Windows Phone. Wasabi Ninja is competing in the Windows Phone category and the other two teams are in Xbox/Windows game design. The competition theme for 2012 is “imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems.”

“These teams have worked hard. For Round 1 of the competition, they had to submit a storyboard, and then for Round 2, they submitted a game demo, instructions and a playable game,” Yun said. “Now, they will continue to refine and improve their games for the final round of the competition.”

The teams are supported by mentors who are Department of Computer Science game development and game art and animation instructors. Mentors are Yun – teams Zigers and Wasabi Ninja – and Jose Baez-Franceschi – team Eager Beavers.

The UH Finalists:

Eager Beavers PC
The team created an educational shooting game, Hydrobot Adventures, featuring a highly intelligent self-powered robot, the Hydrobot, capable of restoring all ocean life destroyed by years of ocean pollution. During the game the player learns about environmental sustainability, and the game brings to mind a vision of what the ocean environment will become in the future if people do not act now. Members: Khoa Le (undergraduate student) and Hien Nguyen, Sushil Joshi and Debjyoti Majunder (graduate students)

The team created an Xbox game, Spillville, which addresses oil spills in the ocean. The player commands ‘Rapid, Ocean Hazard Responders,’ a fictional organization that has been charged by the United Nations Environmental Program to clean up major oil spills in the ocean. Members: Michael Slater, Chris Gonzales, Sin Ng and Allison Sherrick (all undergraduate students)

Wasabi Ninja
The team created an augmented reality-based, first person shooter game, Phagy, for Windows Phone 7. The player takes the role as Phagy, a nanomachine engineered specifically to destroy harmful materials in the water systems of developing countries. Members: Martin Le and Patipol Paripoonnanonda (graduate students) and Jackchalat Chaiyakhom and Josh Riffel (undergraduate students)

The finals will be held in April in Seattle. Six more finalist teams will be picked during a spring selection in March, so additional UH teams may be selected for the national finals. Teams also can enter the Worldwide Imagine Cup for a chance to make it to the worldwide finals in Sydney, Australia.

UH’s computer science department has a legacy of success at the Imagine Cup. In 2011, four UH teams competed in the finals bringing home first and second place in mobile game design and third place in Windows/Xbox game design. Two teams brought home second and third place in the 2010 nationals. 

The complete list of Fall Finalists appears on the U.S. Imagine Cup 2012 website

- Kathy Major, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics