Are you ready for a GameJam?

At .TECH, we are always keen on engaging with unique tech communities from all over the world! One such exceptional community is portographics.tech, a student-led platform to promote computer graphics (CG) at the University of Porto in Portugal. The group organizes workshops on film production, Photoshop, computer graphics, etc. They also host events such as a GameJam that works like a hackathon for building video games.

In this interview, we speak with Paula Costa from Porto Graphics about how they are connecting students from all over the university through their programs and activities.   

GameJam at National Museum of Soares dos Reis
GameJam at National Museum of Soares dos Reis

What made you start PortoGraphics.TECH?

Initially, it was just a group of college friends with a common passion for computer graphics. As part of that interest group, we would regularly meet to discuss computer graphics (CG) and also learn from each other about the subject. We soon realized that there were many students like us who wanted a similar platform for Graphic Computation and thus PortoGraphics was born.

Today, PortoGraphics brings together people from all over the University of Porto on a common platform to share their passion for videogames, computer graphics and everything around it!

How crucial are programs like PortoGraphics for the students of computer graphics?

I believe universities should actively promote initiatives like PortoGraphics because it provides a great place for students to exchange notes and discuss ideas about a common area of interest. At the same time, it offers various learning opportunities to the participants through events, hackathons, etc.

What is the concept of GameJams?

GameJams are similar to musical jams where people get together for a defined period of time to create music ‘on the spot’. Our GameJams are very much alike except that they are for developers who come together to build a game (usually based on a theme) in a short period of time.

GameJam at National Museum of Soares dos Reis
GameJam at National Museum of Soares dos Reis

Why did you choose a museum to do this year’s GameJam?

National Museum of Soares dos Reis was looking for a way to get college students more invested in museums and history. They suggested the idea of ‘Game Jam at the Museum’ and we loved it! We understood that the unique exhibits at the museum could actually offer great creative inspiration to the students. Also, this also gave us an opportunity to spend two days surrounded by literal history as build computer games! It was all very exciting and so we decided to go ahead with it.

GameJam at National Museum of Soares dos Reis
GameJam at National Museum of Soares dos Reis

Tell us about some of the interesting projects that students built in the previous GameJams?

All of the games that take shape at GameJams are unique and creative; it’s hard to pick just a few. In fact, some of the games that were built at our GameJams are now products that are available in the market.

This reinforces the fact that a GameJam can just be a place to hangout with your friends, or meet new ones, and have a great weekend. Or, it could be a start of something bigger!

What should people be looking out for in the future from PortoGraphics?

We hope to organize more and more events like our GameJams, something different that might even seem strange at first and still is exciting! We are sure that our endeavors will open a lot of doors for those students who are interested in Computer Graphics as a subject.  

How can technology be utilized effectively to connect people back to their culture?

This is exactly what we are doing with GameJams. These technology-backed events are meant for college students who may be interested in taking their text-book knowledge of history outside of the classroom through technology. We think technology can be the route to embed culture and history into younger audiences.

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