'I actually enjoyed building something': Fergus high school offers course in video game design
Timothy King’s classroom is where innovation meets creativity.
The teacher at Centre Wellington District Highschool in Fergus supervises a specialized computer technology course where students learn about video game design.
“The students are teaching themselves, I just guide them and give them the tools they need,” said King, who has a background in IT.
The course is comprised of 60 students from grades 11 and 12, who rely on each other’s expertise to program an actual video game.
“It just wasn’t the idea of making a game that was fun, I actually enjoyed building something,” said grade 13 student Carter Woods, who has already taken the course twice.
This year, Woods is taking on a new role as the integration lead. “I like to describe it as everyone is making their own puzzle piece and I’m the one who has to make sure that 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’re scripting in CSharp which is the core of how the game works, like the walking and jumping. Then we have our digital artists that use Blunder which makes 3D models,” explained Zimmerman.
The course was created in 2015 by two students who were self-taught video game programmers and King said ever since, students have made everything from platform to virtual reality games.
This year, students are working on a game called “Rigged,” set in an oil rig in the future.
“We’re building our own encyclopedia as we go, so that it gets bigger and bigger, year on year,” said King.
The lab is also built by students, including a recording studio filled with repurposed items and fixed e-waste.
“I’m so glad CW (Centre Wellington) has this course for students … who want to refine these skills and otherwise wouldn’t have this space to do that,” said senior Rachel Aydinli.
While the class and video game industry is male dominated, Aydinli said, “being a girl isn’t a setback … I feel the grade 11s tend to respect me just as much.”
King said he hopes to give these students the opportunity to pursue their passion and maybe one day turn it into a career in video game development.