Course provides video game opportunities to students

Andy Sais, NIU’s interactive media developer, teaches high schoolers how to design video games in Founders Memorial Library Room 338 Monday afternoon.

By John Bachmann

High school students in the DeKalb County area have a chance to make it into the video game big leagues.

The Digital Convergence Lab located in Founders Memorial Library offers an eight-week course for high school students to learn how video games work and create a game of their own.

Andy Saia, alumnus and interactive media developer for the Digital Convergence Lab, said the idea to work with high school students came after previously doing so with middle school students.

“While an undergrad and employee of the lab, I spent time with middle school students over two summer workshops,” Saia said. “And now were reaching out to high school students which has been a fun and different challenge.”

In the course, the students use a program called Game Maker which gives them the tools to creating their video game.

From time to time, they’ll play games as a way to gain ideas for their own game.

From there, is when the developing begins.

“They’ll visualize their ideas, talk about programming concepts and then begin working on their game,” Saia said.

Vernon Gochee, Hinckley-Big Rock High School student, hopes to utilize the course for his career in the future.

“When I heard about the course, I knew I wanted to take it because this is what I want to do for a living,” Gochee said.

Being the first time this course has been offered, there has been a low turnout. But with another course being offered in November, Saia is confident he’ll get more students.

“We have 10 laptops for use, so I’m hoping to get to the max 10 for the next course,” he said.