Dr. Craig Tanis and a group of computer science and electrical engineering students took the blue and gold to Maker Faire in Chattanooga, described as “the Greatest Show (and Tell) on earth.” Families were invited to First Tennessee Pavilion where people showed what they have made and shared what they learned.
Tanis, who teaches Video Game Development in the College of Engineering and Computer Science, serves as faculty advisor for CompUTC, the computer society for UTC students. With funding assistance from SGA, CompUTC students built an arcade cabinet which contained several video games developed by the students.
“Having a physical machine enabled them to present the real fruit of their labor — software — in a venue that is more inclined towards people building physical creations,” Tanis explained. “I’m excited that so many Chattanoogans had the opportunity to see that we are regularly making things in the Computer Science department, and that we’re capable of designing and building genuinely fun games.”
Maker Faire was just one event CompUTC participated in. The group also hosts tech talks, coding competitions and field trips for participants.
“With over 2000 people at the event, we had a lot of traffic at our booth, both children and adults alike. It was a lot of fun,” said Andrew McPherson, UTC Computer Science student.
There’s a good chance the UTC games made a special impression on some of the young people who came by the booth.
“My hope is that we’ve inspired some kids to want to program — that anybody can make games — and maybe encourage them to consider studying computer science later in life,” Tanis said.