Fergus, Ont. –
Timothy King’s classroom is the place where innovation meets creativity.
The Wellington District Highschool Center teacher in Fergus oversees a specialized computer course where students learn video game design.
“The students teach themselves, I just guide them and give them the tools they need,” said King, who has a background in computer science.
The course is made up of 60 grade 11 and 12 students, who draw on each other’s expertise to program a real video game.
“It just wasn’t the idea of making a fun game, I really enjoyed building something,” said Carter Woods, a grade 13 student, who has taken the course twice before.
This year, Woods takes on a new role as Integration Manager. “I like to describe it as everyone creates their own puzzle piece and I’m the one who has to make sure they all fit together,” he said.
Other senior students, like Wyatt Zimmerman, said the course allows students to develop real work experience in video game design.
“We write scripts in CSharp which is at the heart of how the game works, like walking and jumping. Then we have our digital artists who use Blunder to create 3D models, ”Zimmerman explained.
The course was created in 2015 by two students who were self-taught video game programmers and King said that since then students have created everything from platform games to virtual reality games.
This year, the students are working on a game called “Rigged”, which will be set in a future oil rig.
“We are building our own encyclopedia as we go, so that it gets bigger year after year,” King said.
The lab is also being built by students, including a recording studio filled with reused items and stationary electronic waste.
“I’m so happy that CW (Center Wellington) has this course for students… who want to hone these skills and who otherwise wouldn’t have this space to do it,” said Rachel Aydinli, senior.
As the classroom and the video game industry are dominated by men, Aydinli said, “Being a girl is not a setback… I think grade 11 students tend to respect me just as much. “
King said he hopes to give these students the opportunity to pursue their passion and perhaps one day make a career in video game development.