High school students learn about video game creation during the Video Game Camp at Weber State University.
(Source: Maria Rague) High school students learn about video game creation during the Video Game Camp at Weber State University.

Weber State University’s computer science department hosted its seventh annual video game camp. Young adults are invited to come to WSU’s Ogden campus to learn to design and create a functioning video game.

Camp goers are given their own computer to work with each day and are placed on teams. Each team has a professor to mentor their group. They work from 9 a.m. till 3:30 p.m. and get lunch as well as swag for them to remember their time at the camp.

The camp gives them tools and instructions to construct their games. The rest depends on the ingenuity of each team to come up with the base concept of their game. The team that presents the best, functioning video game goes home with prizes on Friday.

Spencer Hilton, assistant professor in the computer science department said the camp is fun for the kids, and the professors get into it as well.

“We have a lot of fun too. My colleagues are working on their own video games to impress the kids,” Hilton said.

Camp goer Gabe Gerrish played a game designed by a previous year’s winning team.

“I was here last year. It was fun,” said Gerrish as he attempted to spear a goat in the game.

The computer science department also features local video game companies such as Avalanche Software, based in Salt Lake City.

Avalanche Software helped produce games such as Disney Interactive titles “Cars 2” and “Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes.”

These companies send speakers to give presentations to the camp goers, giving them an idea of just what it takes to create a great video game.

This year’s speaker will be Thomas Estrada from Disney.

Although this year’s emphasis was supposed to be on female gamers, no girls signed up for the camp.

Professor Brian Rague, who heads the computer science department, assures that they made sure to advertise that their camp is open to everyone.

“We have a group of three undergraduate women who go to the local high schools and elementary schools and talk it up, so young girls can see it’s for them too,” said Rague.

The video game industry is growing each year, offering new opportunities for students to find jobs doing something they love.

“The video game industry makes more money than movies and music,” Rague said.

With the increase of digital interactions through video games, there is always a fear of kids replacing face-to-face social interaction. Rague says these camps help kids interact with peers who hold the same interest.

“They don’t just sit there and play video games. They’re collaborating with one another, interacting and working as a team, which is important in this kind of workplace,” Rague said.

The computer science department is teaming up with the continuing education department to help host three more camps for different age groups this summer. The dates are June 23-26 for ages 8-11 years old, July 14-17 for ages 12-14 years old and a camp titled “Storytelling Using Computers” will be held July 7-10.

Registration is available online. Spaces are limited.

For more information on the camps email brague@weber.edu or contact the computer science department at 801-626-7377.


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