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Students challenged to make HTML5 games

Clay.io is running a global, month-long HTML5 game development competition for students.

Called Got Game?, the competition challenges students to create a great HTML5 game, with various prizes on offer. The winning team will receive $1,500, GitHub medium plans and Construct 2 licences.

The competition started on 5 March and runs through to 5 April, and is being run with the help of sponsors Mozilla, GitHub, Scirra and ImpactJS. All entries must be submitted to both Firefox Marketplace and Clay.io Marketplace, although teams retain full rights to their submissions.

We spoke to Clay.io co-founder Austin Hallock about the competition and why more students interested in gaming should be making the leap to web standards.

.net: What background do you have in HTML5 games?
AH: I co-founded Clay.io, which is a platform for HTML5 games. It offers a marketplace and tools for developers to integrate high-level features like high scores, achievements, in-game payments, data storage, analytics and more.

.net: Why did you decide to run Got Game?
AH: I see so many students developing games primarily with Java and Flash. Few know of HTML5 or the benefits of it, and so they use languages they were taught in school. Some schools use Unity now, which is better because Unity games can be made cross-platform, but I think more folks, starting with students, should take a closer look at HTML5 as a viable means of developing games. As students ourselves, we felt we were in a good position to use our networks to promote this competition to as many schools as possible.

.net: Why do you believe more students should immerse themselves in HTML5, especially when it comes to developing games?
AH: I see HTML5 becoming the primary way to develop games — the benefits are just too good. Games work on any modern device, the development process doesn’t involve compilation, and many students have a web development background. Previously, the closest technology to being able to build a game using that knowledge was Flash, but now anyone who knows JavaScript can dive into game development. With major companies like Microsoft, Apple, Google, Mozilla and Facebook backing HTML5 as a technology, this rapid progression should continue.

.net: How important is cross-platform and cross-device support?
AH: We'd love to see games designed for all devices, including touchscreens and smartphones. This will affect the judging to some extent because the ability to play from a phone adds some coolness factor. However, a quality desktop-only game has a good shot at winning, especially one taking advantage of WebGL, like the game HexGL, which was developed by a student.

.net: Do you consider any other existing HTML5 games particularly inspiring to those considering entering this competition?
AH: Word Wars, which was initially developed by two University of Texas students during a 24-hour hackathon. Neither student had much experience with JavaScript prior to the event. The game idea has been done before, but not for HTML5, and it's the type of game that takes full advantage of HTML5's ability to be cross-platform. Other great games that could have been done within the competition’s timeframe include Fire Nano, Sawbucks and Strandead.

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