Microsoft Executives Visit RIT to Support Imagine Cup

Student-technology competition and free game development workshops this weekend

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Caffeine will be needed at Rochester Institute of Technology this weekend.

College students from schools in the northeast will work straight through from Friday to Sunday designing and testing games for Microsoft’s Imagine Cup 2011 contest at RIT.

This year’s weekend will also include three free gaming courses, led by 10 Microsoft executives. The free workshops will be held Saturday for those interested in game development.

RIT’s School of Interactive Games and Media will host the Game Jam Competition starting at 5 p.m. Dec. 2 in the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. The contest will conclude 2 to 4 p.m. Dec. 4 with a showcase of the games and an awards ceremony.

A schedule of the weekend’s events can be accessed at

RIT’s Game Jam focuses on game design challenges from Microsoft’s Imagine Cup. Last year’s winner, Ithaca College, attended the world competition in New York City as the U.S. champions. The Imagine Cup 2012 championships will be held in Sydney, Australia.

The Microsoft Imagine Cup, founded in 2003, is one of the premier student design competitions in the world, featuring teams from a host of international colleges and universities that compete in nine categories related to science, engineering and computing.

“This competition is an outstanding opportunity for students and local developers to network with each other and Microsoft, while learning about exciting, cutting-edge game development tools,” says David Schwartz, associate professor in the School of Interactive Games and Media and organizer of the event.

In addition to the competition, Saturday will include a daylong crash course in XNA, a Microsoft game design toolset, half-day sessions on HTML 5 and Windows phone apps and a free lunch at 1 p.m. The free hands-on courses allow high school students who know how to program, programming teachers, college students and developers access to RIT’s state-of-the-art game development software.