Feature
Beat the Munch and Travel Crunch
NTU denizens pondering food and transport options can get to know the campus better with these two original Facebook games developed by engineering and humanities undergrads
By Christopher Ong
The interdisciplinary team behind the two Facebook games.
Unlike many of their peers who spent the December holidays playing computer games, 11 students from the engineering and humanities colleges were busy creating them.

Mainly in their first and second year, together they put in hundreds of hours under the guidance of Assoc Prof Yow Kin Choong from the School of Computer Engineering to develop two Facebook games. The games can be played through NTU's official Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/NTUsg, which has a fan base of more than 10,000.

Playing Food on Campus and Getting Around NTU, NTU students can learn more about the myriad of food and transport choices on campus in an interactive way. In Food on Campus, players direct hungry students to canteen stalls, matching them with the dishes they are craving. Some of the popular food places featured include Café by the Quad, Food Connection and the busy stretch of fast food outlets at the North Spine. In Getting Around NTU, players have to ensure that students waiting at the key campus bus stops take the right buses so they get to their desired destinations.

Both games require players to score a certain number of points within a time frame in order to clear a stage.

Art, Design & Media student Nur Aida Binte Sa'ad, who created the cute characters for the Food on Campus game, found dishes pleasing to her palette during her food hunt. She says: "I took many photos for reference. I've never had to look at menus in such detail before!"

And she didn't mind sacrificing her holidays. "It was interesting to learn how a computer game is made."

The students did everything from scratch, contributing in different ways. In fact, they pooled their talents into complementary areas of game development, often spontaneously. For instance, Computer Engineering duo Elysia Ong and Jolene Lim joined the project to hone their programming skills but ended up also composing the music and sound effects for the games.

Jolene shares: "I remember trying to come up with a lively tune, and I thought of Mary Had A Little Lamb, so I modified the song!"

Fun aside, the occasion was also a chance for the students to discover the beauty of teamwork and cross-discipline efforts.

Says Computer Engineering undergrad Abhishek Ray, who was the chief programmer for Getting Around NTU: "I didn't work on the graphics, yet graphics are the most important part of a game. You learn to respect the work of your teammates in different fields when you work on a project like this."

You’ve read about them, now play these made-in-NTU Facebook games at Getting Around NTU and Food on Campus.