Averill Park High School will be offering a new pilot course in Video Game Design starting this fall after teachers Terry Miller and Matt Duff attended a Summer STEM Research Institute program coordinated by Questar III BOCES.
Mr. Duff and Mr. Miller worked with a number of employees at Vicarious Visions – a video game company based in Albany – for four days per week over the course of seven weeks.
Teachers from Schodack CSD and East Greenbush CSD also attended the program.
The new full-year course will be co-taught by Mr. Miller and Mr. Duff at Averill Park High School and will have students create a board game, a 2-D game and a 3-D game throughout the year. Twenty-two students signed up for the first class.
Teachers were surprised by the amount of work being done at Vicarious Visions, where roughly 50 employees work on each video game being produced. While there is a fair amount of coding that goes into video game design, there is also art, math, physics, narrative, problem solving, communication, collaboration, public speaking and much more.
“Our teachers and administration continuously seek out ways to bring new ideas to our student body and the partnership with Vicarious Visions is another way of providing students with experience in a potential career path,” Averill Park CSD Superintendent Dr. James Franchini said. “The video game industry is reported to be a $300 billion industry worldwide by 2025. Having a company in our own back yard that is willing to work with area school districts presents a fantastic opportunity that we are proud to be a part of.
“We are excited to offer a video game design course in the fall. This is an example of one way that the Averill Park Central School District is implementing our mission statement of meeting the needs of and creating opportunities for every student every day.”
In 2019, Vicarious Visions celebrated its 28th year in operation. Video games that the company has created include Tony Hawk, Crash Bandicoot, Guitar Hero, Marvel Ultimate Alliance and Spider-Man.
The same group of teachers will return to Vicarious Visions next summer to learn more about the video game design industry and how to integrate what they learn into a curriculum that can help put students on a career path after graduation.
(Mr. Miller, left, and Mr. Duff, right, present on their experience working at Vicarious Visions)