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Video Game Design

Students learn the basics of game design in 3-D Animation and Game Design at Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center.
Video Game Design

Video Game Design

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Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center


Show Details

Show 1702: Video Game Design
Air Date: January 8, 2017




Courtney Maye: Hello, everyone. Thanks for joining us here on “Horizon.” I’m Courtney Maye filling in for Rob McClendon this week. If you mention video games, many of us flash back to childhood memories in our parents’ basement or times spent at the arcade. The first video games were created in the 1950s for scientific research. Yet by the ’80s, Pac-Man and Donkey Kong were taking children’s quarters in arcades around the world. But don’t be fooled by the young face of those early adopters. This industry is anything but child’s play.

Courtney Maye: This is the trailer for “Detroit: Become Human.” No, not a movie – a video game. The line between Hollywood blockbuster and console video game is now razor thin. But the growth of video games is not simply aesthetic; the money is massive too. According to industry market analyst Newzoo, the global gaming market was predicted to reach a value of $99.6 billion in 2016, with $23.5 billion of that here in the United States. And while consoles like the Xbox and PlayStation are still important, mobile gaming is reshaping the industry, making it less about young men. A Pew research study found that about 50 percent of women play video games, and while gaming is enjoyed by younger people in greater numbers, 60 percent of those age 30-49 play, and even 23 percent of those over 65. Those numbers create opportunity for students like Erin Peterson.

Erin Peterson: It’s really interesting how there is so many different kinds of video games and there is so many different kinds of people that play video games. And I think it is just really interesting that everyone can come together and bond over something.

Courtney: Peterson and her classmates at Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center are enrolled in a 3-D animation and game design course.

Travis Tracy: We are using game development to teach computer science skills, so things like programming and also the 3-D fundamentals that they would need in order to be employed.

Courtney: Travis Tracy is the instructor for this hands-on class where students work in teams to build video games.

Tracy: So right now we are shooting for five to10 minutes of gameplay. So it is not going to be a real robust game, but it will be something that will be playable. Usually there is one person that is doing most of the programming. And usually we have a couple of people doing most of the 3-D assets that are going to go into the game, maybe somebody doing user interface stuff and some of the design work. So it’s spread out across four members, but I think one of the cool things about the program is that none of them are doing the exact same thing.

Peterson: Basically we make our own work. Like, we write down everything that we need for the game and how long it is going to take to get everything done, and we do everything basically by ourselves.

Paden Douthitt: Right now we are about a month in, and I don’t think we even have a minute yet. And it’s, it’s all about kind of collecting all of your resources and then just putting that together in the end.

Courtney: Paden Douthitt was attracted to the artistic elements of game design.

Douthitt: I love expressing myself through art. You know, it could be writing, it could be drawing. But this is also a really great way. And you know, everybody has that dream of making something and you know having that out in the world.

Courtney: But this art is interactive, so if an element of the game doesn’t work for the user, it cannot work for the designer. Just ask Ukrainian student Alex Nasalenko.

Alex Nasalenko: For example, originally I used a plug-in which gave a really nice, awesome, hologram effect. But it was really resource intense. Like, when I use it my computer was lagging, and I couldn’t do it. So I feel like, OK, if I cannot do it, when player will play it, it will be impossible.

Courtney: An important lesson learned in the business of game design.

Tracy: If I challenge them with something, generally they will step up to the plate and actually accomplish it. I don’t think I have one student that whenever they walk in the door they’ve ever built a game on their own. So whenever they walk in the door, and you challenge them with something like that, and they step up to it, I think it builds confidence and builds some character. It is a lot of hard work. I have a lot of students in here who will go home and work on their projects at home. I don’t require that of them, but that is how dedicated they are.

Courtney: All while giving these students skills that will translate broadly into the workforce. Both in gaming --

Tracy: A lot of these students could go out and get a job. And with the indie scene, with independent games that we see coming out, games are coming out every day. And so I’m hoping that these students could jump on board with something like that.

Courtney: -- and in other fields as well.

I’ll look at the plug-ins, so we don’t, so you wouldn’t have to, like, model it from scratch.

Douthitt: It does do a lot for jobs outside of game development. You know, every, every company nowadays that wants to build something or wants to create something, they need a 3-D model for it. And so, you know, they are always looking for people to do that.

Courtney Maye: This spring, the teams who create the best games will compete in the statewide SkillsUSA competition. Last year, one of Mr. Tracy’s teams won state and qualified for nationals. Now, when we return, a look at how one group of Oklahoma gamers is giving back to the community.