The Microsoft Imagine Cup
, a technology-based contest for students, has opened registration for its 2008 event, the theme of which is "imagine a world where technology enables a sustainable environment."
The competition, which is now in its sixth year, has nine categories: 1) game development, 2) algorithm, 3) interface design, 4) software design, 5) embedded development, 6) project Hoshimi (which uses comic-style graphics), 7) IT challenge, 8) photography, and 9) short film.
In the game development category, the Cup is asking students to utilize Microsoft's new XNA Game Studio Express to create a game that's not only entertaining but socially responsible as well with its sustainable environment focus.
Other categories that may be of use to game students are the software design category, which has students create real world software solutions using the Microsoft .Net Framework and the Microsoft Windows platform; the algorithm category, which should feature brainteasers, coding challenges, and algorithmic puzzles; and the interface design category, which asks designers to create functional, compelling, forward-thinking user interfaces.
In addition to cash awards, prizes will including a booth at the PAX Penny Arcade Expo, the nation's largest gaming expo; a screening of the winning film at the Seattle International Film Festival; and a two-page spread in American Photo Magazine
The company also says that winners will be able to "present their entry to the Microsoft games management team for possible inclusion as a download in the popular Xbox Live Arcade service or MSN Games Web site."
Entrants must progress through a series of local and regional competitions in order to reach the finals, which will be held in Paris in summer 2008. More than 100,000 students from 100 countries competed in last year's Imagine Cup.
For more information, visit ImagineCup.com