UIT Student Worker Helps Design Winning Anti-Poverty Game for Microsoft
Chaiyakhom, a student worker in Web Technologies at University
Information Technology (UIT), placed in the annual Microsoft
Imagine Cup Competition section held for game designers. The
overall competition encourages young people to use computing
technologies to solve world problems.
Jack's team, named Righteous Noodle, took third place in the
competition. They were among 90 students from 22 U.S. finalist
teams who were selected to compete in person in several sections
in Seattle. Some 1,500 teams submitted projects and 74,000
people registered for the competition, according to a Microsoft
Righteous Noodle, made up of computer science students from UH,
won $2,000. For its win, the group created a game that
challenges players to end poverty with the use of advanced
technology. Research Assistant Professor Chang Yun served as
advisor for the team. Yun's department trains young people for a
thriving Texas industry that creates computer games. Each of the
team members also won a Windows Phone 7.
Competing at Seattle was a special experience for Jack. "My team
– Righteous Noodle – won third place in the game design category
for the PC/Xbox platform," he explained. "We created a real-time
strategy game that puts the player in control of a poverty
relief effort. The main point of the game is to send a message
that poverty can only be stopped by economic sustainability. The
purpose is to teach a person how to fish instead of giving him a
Jack was born in Phitsanulok, a northern province of Thailand,
and grew up in a rural area outside Bangkok. Memories of
Thailand haunt him. "I’ve been to many parts of Thailand
affected by poverty,” he said. "Generally, when people cannot
afford to live, some of them resort to supporting crime. Human
trafficking (which affects Thailand) relates directly to
poverty. Many of those who do not turn to crime cannot eat and
are prone to diseases that could be easily treated in the U.S.
According to the United Nations (U.N.), every four seconds a
person dies from starvation. That is one of the reasons poverty
is a U.N. Millennium Goal to be ended by 2015."
Although he moved to Houston with his family in 2001, images of
Thailand continue to influence Jack, and he wants to help the
people of the country. Doing so requires talent, knowledge, and
dedication. In high school, Jack began designing web sites. He
routinely developed applications using graphics and web
software, including Adobe Flash and PHP. Next fall, Jack expects
to complete studies for his bachelor's degree in computer
science at UH.
He began attending UH in 2007 and helped work his way through
college by serving as a web developer for the UH Department of
Campus Recreation for three years. He learned to develop games.
Currently at Web Technologies, he assists in designing,
developing and updating a variety of UH web sites. These days he
frequently completes his work by using a content management
system and video game design strategies.
With these skills he designed the winning game that teaches
those in the developed world about poverty. Jack hopes it will
help stimulate positive change.
Aside from his interest in technology, Jack also likes to do
photography and studies philosophy. "I’ve taken many photos at
UH," Jack said. These include an artistic view of a major
Jack’s game, “Eva Frontier,” may be played by going to the