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Teens can learn video game development

October 15, 2010

Video Game Development LabTeenagers interested in video games, animation, 3D virtual worlds, and computers are invited to join the Game Development Lab at the NIU Digital Convergence Lab in Founders Memorial Library.

This after-school program allows students to pursue their hobbies while exploring an exciting career option in emerging technologies. 

The Game Development program includes 16 late afternoon sessions from November 2 to December 23, 2010, led by video game designer Andy Saia.

Saia, who is a graduate of NIU’s School of Art in Time Arts program and past president of NIU’s Video Games Club, explained that “students 13 and older will take their design ideas from prototype to playable games.”

“In the process, they will learn complex problem-solving, teamwork, project management, and using computers software for design,” Saia added.

Program Director Aline Click says research shows that students who lose themselves in video games often are learning “hard stuff.”

“Ultimately, we are teaching students to develop games that may also help them meet curriculum standards and increase essential skills such as critical thinking.” At the university level, learning how to use and create emerging technologies can better prepare college students for the global workplace and its technology demands, she added.

Saia and other members of the Digital Convergence Lab staff have led very popular video game design camps for middle school students during the past two summers.
Video game development is one of the top eight careers forecast for strong growth over the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition to the entertainment industry, video games have become integral to training for the military, medical professions, industry, and education from pre-school to graduate school.

Robin Ryan, career coach and author of “60 Seconds and You’re Hired!,” says the gaming field is exploding.

“There are hugely successful, multiplayer, online role-playing games; casual games for computers, PDAs and cell phones; as well as games for Xbox, Nintendo and other proprietary systems. If you’re a game nut, consider learning how to create games to cash in on this trend as the gaming industry tends to offer jobs that are fun and pay good money.”

Do you know a teenager interested in learning to develop video games from a real game designer? Check out the details here to learn more about the Video Games Development classes.

NIU’s Digital Convergence Lab (DCL) opened in 2009 in Founders Library Rooms 338-340.

A partnership of NIU Outreach and the University Libraries, the DCL aims to foster community engagement, the utilization of new digital media, experiential learning opportunities, shared research and development. The DCL invites the NIU community to explore new ways of communicating and sharing of media through digitized text and artifacts, graphics and animation, social networks, virtual environments, mobile devices, video conferencing, games, and interactive simulations.

For more information about this program and to register, go to Game Development Lab. To learn more about the Digital Convergence Lab’s programs for NIU students and faculty, visit the DCL website.