Hello all,

This post has been a long time coming. I have had a pretty busy December. Finals, graduation, iPhone App being featured in the media, making the Microsoft Imagine Cup finals, new personal relationships, new projects, work, and of course some Cougar football. That’s not even a comprehensive list!

To catch you up I will begin with Imagine Cup. This past semester I have been a part of a game development team at the University of Houston. Our team, team Zigers (zombie-tigers), has been developing an Xbox 360 game for the Microsoft Imagine Cup Competition. A typical video game is created by teams of hundreds of engineers, artists, musicians, testers, and marketing and support staff working more than full time over a period of 2-4 years. For imagine cup we had 4 students, all taking other classes and with jobs, and less than 3 months.

This year, the US division of the contest will have close to 79,000 entries from all over the country, all competing for 22 positions in the nationals divided across three categories. Half of these positions are determined in the fall, half in the spring by an at large contest.

Despite all these odds, my team took one of the three available spots in the nation for fall 2011! Matter of fact, teams from UH took a total of three spots in the nation across all three categories! This was a lot for me to take in at first. Placing means that our team competed with and beat thousands of other entries from schools around the country including schools like Rice and Stanford.

Imagine Cup website announcing Zigers as a finalist
Imagine Cup website announcing Zigers as a finalist

The Imagine Cup Finals will be hosted at the Microsoft headquarters in Seattle in April and Microsoft will be providing our teams travel, hotel, and expenses but that is not nearly as exciting as the experience itself. It really is a great honor to be competing at this level. I also hope that it will open doors for me to get to speak with Microsoft engineers and further fuel my .Net addiction.

Getting into the finals means four more months of development for us in order to make a strong showing in Seattle. This means a lot of hard work and sleepless nights are ahead of us. On average, we will be putting in ten to forty hours a week into developing this game. For me this is on top of a forty hour work week at OpenLink Financial where I am currently a Technical Consultant Intern.

Spillville on the University of Houston homepage
Spillville on the University of Houston homepage

One thing that has been interesting has been the media coverage our team has received. We have already had TV news coverage on ABC13 Houston and will have a radio segment airing sometime this month.

Well, that’s it for now. I will leave you with the video from out ABC13 interview.

ABC13's Coverage of Imagine Cup - Ziger's Interview
ABC13's Coverage of Imagine Cup - Ziger's Interview