Video Game Design: A New World To Explore

Luke Dewey, Editor

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With the new school year underway, students are now attending their brand new schedule of classes. While everyone at Oakmont has to take their required core courses, the electives are often the classes that keep students interested. A brand new subject arrived last year and kind of flew right under the radar. However, this new course has so much to offer for any kind of student while, at the same time, divulging into one of the hottest and entertaining topics in 2018. Here is everything you need to know about your new favorite tech course: Video Game Design.

According to the U.S. Dept. of Labor, video game designer employment is booming and will increase by 30% this decade, making it one of the fastest growing jobs in 2018. Most designers make more than $100,000 annually in a multi-billion dollar video game design industry that has tripled in size over the last couple years. Respectively, the Video Game Design course was born last year, but for different reasons than the money.

The class is taught by the well-known tech teacher Mr. Secino who, when asked why he started to teach this class, said, “I wanted another programming class along with Advanced Engineering. But, you can’t just have a class called ‘Programming’, you can’t sell that [to students].” Secino stressed that there needs to be an objective that students should reach for. “You can’t just have them program to program, they need to have a goal. In Advanced Engineering you’re programming Robots, in here [Video Game Design] you’re programming video games.”

In Video Game Design, there is no tedious notetaking or boring worksheets; you get assigned to a computer on your first day and begin working. The course is run through a tutorial “cookbook” that teaches you, in detail, the basics to making a video game. All the computers in the tech lab have 1 terabyte of storage and a design software called Unity which you will use just about every single day. In just one week’s worth of classes you will be creating massive 3D worlds that you can test out and change in any way you desire.

Although it is fun to run around your own world that you have created, it would get bland without actually making a formal game that has objectives and goals. This is where the coding aspect of the class comes in, which does seem confusing for beginners but, with time, can be understood by any student.

Coding is a great tool for anyone interested in this field, it allows you to design unique games and make them your own. After seeing the practically unlimited possibilities that can be born from the Unity software, one student asked, “Want to start a gaming company together?” While this was clearly a joke, Video Game Design is the first step to making that a reality. Some well known games made by the Unity software include Cuphead, Trinity, and, most popular, Hearthstone, a collectible online card game that with 52,000 daily viewers on the streaming service Twitch. These students are using the same software that put these big games on the market which is encouraging for students who start to think that they too could make the next big game title.

By the end of the semester, you will have acquired so many useful skills and tested so many different scripts of code that you will be ready for the final. But, this is no written final; students in Video Game Design are asked to create their very own original video game. It will be the ultimate test to see how much you have really learned throughout the course and it allows students to show off their unique game ideas that have been developed since their first days in the class. “The best final last year was an 18-hole golf course game, – it was very impressive,” Mr. Secino said regarding an individual in last year’s class. At the end, so many students are left proud of their work and yearning to keep creating new projects. How many classes can you say leave that impact on students anymore?