Delivering results: Software engineering students take top spots in national pizza game development contest

CECS winners

Jordan Necovski, left, and Adam Woitulewicz earned the top two spots in a national game development contest sponsored by Domino’s Pizza and EPrize/HelloWorld.

What could you do with a couple spare hours and a little creativity?

University of Michigan-Dearborn students Adam Woitulewicz and Jordan Necovski turned their free time into a portfolio-enhancing—and lucrative—experience.

The software engineering students recently earned the top two spots in a national game development contest sponsored by Domino’s Pizza and EPrize/HelloWorld. The challenge? Develop a game in HTML5 featuring Domino’s Pizza.

Woitulewicz designed a take on the classic Paperboy game, this time replacing papers with pizza boxes, and earned $5,000 for first place. Necovski focused on a tower defense game, with players fighting pizza-stealing hamburgers. He took home $2,000 for second place.

Neither student originally planned to enter the contest. Both were focused on end-of-semester projects and presentations at the time. But when classes ended in April, they realized they still had two days to submit games.

Turns out, that’s all the time they needed.

They worked in Construct 2, a game development software specifically for 2D games. And they made quick work of it because of their previous experiences with the software—they’ve used Construct 2 in their game design classes and taught high school students how to use the software during College of Engineering and Computer Science events.

“It’s really intuitive,” Necovski said. “Since we’ve been using it for the past year, we were able to get a game with working scores, title and animations in a couple of hours.”

Bruce Maxim, associate professor of computer and information science, encourages students to look for opportunities like this competition.

“Software engineering is a portfolio-based job market. Students interested in entering the game industry need to provide evidence of working on a complete game. A contest like this provides the motivation to do just that,” he said. “It also provides students with financial rewards to assist with their educational expenses.”

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