High school and middle school students worked together Saturday to create video game ideas during the Central Oregon Game Jam at Oregon State University-Cascades in Bend.

Students put pen to paper to brainstorm their games. Ideas included an Ice Age-themed video game and one called “Catacomb,” similar to the popular video game “Tomb Raider.”

The game jam marked the first step for local students interested in competing next spring at the Oregon Game Project Challenge, a statewide video game creation competition held at Western Oregon University.

Like a good video game, the event Saturday included a plot twist. The students were busy creating their games when Duncan Millard, who is on the board of directors for the Oregon Game Project Challenge, unveiled the theme the students needed to follow in order to compete in the statewide competition: Scarcity.

Millard and Jill Hubbard, a computer science instructor at OSU-Cascades, had the students table their original ideas and start thinking about how they would incorporate scarcity into a video game.

“It’s hard to come up with an idea when you create a game,” Hubbard said. “That’s the hardest part.”

OSU-Cascades computer science department also hosted a Code Retreat, where software coding professionals and students from OSU-Cascades, Central Oregon Community College and local high schools came together to develop codes.

At the game jam next door in Tykeson Hall, students kept sharing their ideas.

Evan Hickey, 13, a seventh-grader at Cascades Academy in Bend, wrote a long list of animals that could be a part of the Ice Age video game, including tigers and turtles.

The idea didn’t remind him of any other game he played, and if it was created, he would play it, he said.

“I like game design because it’s coming up with an idea and eventually making it a reality,” Hickey said. “I really enjoy it.”

Ted George, a computer science student at OSU-Cascades, helped the younger students with their ideas.

He spent much of the event working with Kail Fourner, a junior at Mt. View High School, to create a video game where a player would infiltrate a building to gather an item and then have to escape the building.

“It’s fun to just sit down and get creative and come up with ideas,” George said. “There is a lot of things you can do out there, but it’s always more fun when it’s something you created.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7820, kspurr@bendbulletin.com