Ty Allembert and two collaborators won $5,000 for Snakes, their entry to a game programming contest for the educational website Quizlet.
Ty Allembert and two collaborators won $5,000 for Snakes, their entry to a game programming contest for the educational website Quizlet.

‘A fun little thing’

Local programmer part of prize-winning team in video game design competition

DUMMERSTON — Ty Allembert and two friends entered a national competition to create a learning game on the website Quizlet and came away with third place and $5,000.

Allembert, a native of Dummerston, graduated from Brattleboro Union High School and has just completed a bachelor's degree in computer science at the University of Vermont.

He works in Burlington as a freelancer in coding and web development.

"About three or four months ago, two friends and I joined a competition by the website Quizlet for students, or newly graduated students, to create a game," Allembert told The Commons. "The Quizlet website is a website for helping high school, middle school, or college students study. They have these study sets that you can use that are like flash cards."

Allembert joined Nate Lawler of Manchester, Vermont, and Tate Osborne, from New Hampshire, to create a game based on the classic game Snake. In this case, the snake has to choose the right answer to a multiple choice question.

"It's a pretty simple game where you have a little snake going around on the screen," Allembert said. "You can move it up, down, left, or right."

Four choices to the question are each marked by a fruit. The player's snake has to eat the fruit corresponding to the correct answer.

"Say, for example, you're studying geography," Allembert said. "You would have a picture of a state, and it might say, 'What state is this?' And your four options would be New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, or Massachusetts. Each one of those would correspond to a different fruit that's on the screen."

According to the game rules, "If you munch on the right fruit, you will get 1 block longer. Eat the wrong one, however, and you will shrink 1 block shorter. See how long you can get, and how much vocabulary you know! Happy slithering!"

Users can adjust the number of questions and the time allowed for selecting definitions. They can set the snake's speed as slow, normal, or fast.

About 20 entries were submitted, and 10 were chosen for the website, where players nationwide had a chance to try them out.

"The public was able to play it, which was kind of fun," Allembert said.

"It was a fun little thing," he said. "It was cool to hear that we actually got into the top three in the nation."

For more information on Allembert, visit tyallembert.com.

This Milestones item by Joyce Marcel was written for The Commons.