2017 IAM Summer Challenge

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2017 Summer Challenge Theme

June is the month for IAM's summer challenge. The annual challenge is like a game jam, but with more time to build out projects. Work can start at any time after the theme is posted (June 1st), but must be completed by June 30th. All participants will receive free custom shirts for participating, and there may be other prizes! Sign up for the challenge by June 12th to reserve your shirt.


"Traversing Chicago"

Create a project that addresses navigating the city in an innovative way, and one that is not purely about entertainment. Consider incorporating a social, economic, political, or other alternative perspective.

Use any technology you like (from pen-and-paper to AR/VR - your choice).


Creative Prompts

  • "Traversing the landscape is the best part of the voyage": have you experienced this in Chicago?
  • What barriers have you seen in Chicago (social, economic, political, or others)? How do people move between them?

Topic Ideas


verb: traverse

   1. travel across or through. "he traversed the forest"
   synonyms:	travel over/across, cross, journey over/across, pass over; 
   wander, roam, range: "he traversed the deserts of Iran"
   consider or discuss the whole extent of (a subject): "he would traverse a number of subjects and disciplines"
   2. move (something) back and forth or sideways.

noun: traverse

   1. an act of traversing something.

Judge, Mentor, and Consultant: Julian Grant

Acclaimed filmaker, animator, and visual artist Julian Grant has joined IAM and will be providing insight and guidance to the 2017 Summer Challenge participants.



  • At least one team member is a member of an Interactive Arts and Media department major (or animation and visual effects student).
  • At least one team member is available on June 30th at 2:00 for the challenge wrap up


All participants will receive a free t-shirt for participating. Additionally there may be other prizes!


  • What skill requirements are needed?

None! All skill levels are welcome. Just be willing to learn and participate.

  • How much time do I need to spend working on it?

The month-long time frame doesn't mean you have to work non-stop during the month - it just means that it is slower paced than a 24-hour game jam or hackathon. The amount of time you want to contribute is up to you and your team.

  • I'm not in Chicago this summer, can I still join?

Yes! You don't have to be on campus or in the city - you can work remotely! It is up to you and your team how you coordinate.

  • Can my friend from another department join? Can graduates participate?

Each team just needs one IAM person (such as a current IAM student or an IAM alum) so if you have friends outside of the department (or the school) who you'd like to work with - great! If you don't have a team no worries - we are meeting up on June 1st to see who is interested and get the teams formed.

  • Do we have to build a game?

Nope. You can build any type of solution to the challenge as long as it is interactive.

  • Can we build something physical?

Yes! Any technology can be used. If you want to build your own version of Optimus Prime, an interactive environment, or a board game that's fine. IAM does have a laser cutter, 3D printers, and other neat tech.