financial apps

Then-senior Shaun Vanweelden and then-junior Dalton Mills participate in the Money Game Jam on March 29, 2014, at the Hixon-Lied Student Success Center. Students at the event worked in teams to develop apps to teach personal finance.

Fifteen minutes before Game Jam starts, the bottom floor of Eilings Hall is quiet, the lobby upstairs is almost empty and the loudest sound is somebody taking a call in the corner. 

About five minutes before the event starts, leaders step in and corral people into teams. 

Two skateboards line the wall nearest to the door.

When the clock strikes the hour, quiet murmurs start and the Space Jam theme comes on.

“Come on and slam, and welcome to the jam,” said Sam Henkes, junior in computer science and president of Game Development Club. “The theme is ‘Three.’ That’s the theme, ‘Three.’”

Game Jam is an event hosted by the Game Development Club where attendees have 48 hours to create a video game from scratch.

Many Game Jams have themes or restrictions. This year’s theme was "Three," inspiring attendees to create games centered around the number.

Half of the people in the room stand up and start drawing on whiteboards within seconds and conversations bloom.

As people filter in the room, they are asked if they want to join a team.

Teams ranged from anywhere between two to five members, and only two people were working solo.

The Game Development Club is overseen by Henkes and meets twice a week. On Mondays, there’s a meeting that discusses general concepts such as brainstorming or how sound effects work. On Saturdays there’s a workshop that includes freer discussion. 

Additionally, the club does multiple Game Jams a year, one in the fall and one in the spring at minimum. 

Henkes said it’s hard to accurately gauge exactly how many people are in the club at a given time, but estimates 30 or so members.

A prospective entrant doesn’t have to be a programmer to be in the club. It is open to any and all Iowa State students.

“Artists, musicians, writers, 3D modelers, graphic designers, architects... anyone really [is welcome to join]!” according to the Game Development Club’s website.

Even if one is not skilled in any of those departments, the club aims to help people learn and develop skills and accepts people of any skill level.

Game Jams can be hard to finish, with many creators operating under time constraints.

“This time around, all of them [will finish],” Henkes said. “Maybe one will not stay. Everybody makes it to the finish line and everyone has a game to show.”

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