OGDEN, Utah – Women make up 40 percent of video game players, and the number is increasing. High school students who attend Weber State University’s Summer Game Development Camp will discuss the shifting demographic, and for the first time in the camp’s seven-year history, this year’s featured guest speaker — a Disney animator — will be a woman.
From June 16-20, participants will engage in the challenges and rewards of video game design and development. The workshop runs from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily in the Technical Education building Room 202S.
Casey Nelson, who works on animation and cinematics for Disney Interactive Studios, will discuss various facets of the game industry from how ideas become reality to a typical workweek for industry professionals on June 19 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in TE Room 104.
“One of the purposes of the camp is to try to expose young women to how fun computer science can be and the various applications that computer science has to the outside world,” said computer science department chair Brian Rague. “A female speaker from a prominent game development company like Disney drives home that point and emphasizes the impact women can make in this industry.”
Rague said female enrollment in WSU’s computer science department has jumped noticeably. In the academic year 2013-14, the number of female students increased by 5 percent from the previous year.
The workshop will divide attendees into four or five teams that will be given the task of creating an engaging game by week’s end. As part of a friendly but highly competitive contest, students and faculty then will select the top three games.
In addition, six computer science professors will teach key industry skills, including the elements of good play, mechanics and genres, interactivity and controls, level design, programming and intelligence.
The computer science department has an archive of every game developed since its first camp in 2008. They are available to download and play at icarus.cs.weber.edu/gamemaker.html.
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