Trek 4: Videogame Development Day

Let’s go explorers! Today is game development day and we have lots to share. Let’s jump right in!


Our friends from CodeCrew and Memphis Game Developers joined us today. They were eager to give demonstrations on game development to our explorers, and it easily showed when nearly everyone admitted to owning a game console!

Devitt Upkins (left) and Stephen Young (right) of Memphis Game Developers and CodeCrew respectively are ready to show our explorers how to make games!

We began the day by seeing how video games are created and developed, with a live demonstration of Unity3D. Unity3D is a real game engine used by game developers, and is used for everything from 3D graphics rendering and sound scripting to artificial intelligence (AI) and video support for cinematics. It can be used to develop games on nearly 27 platforms, including Xbox, PlayStation, iOS, the PC, and more. Our explorers got to see the game development process first hand and will especially need to remember this portion for what we’ll do later on!

Unity 3D is a comprehensive game engine, and includes a sophisticated physics engine.

We then transitioned to the FedEx Institute of Technology and split up into two groups. Group 1 will see the Virtual Reality (VR) lab. There are 2 Oculus Rifts, 2 Google Cardboards, and other assets in the room that make this the perfect Virtual Reality Lab environment. The explorers took turns with VR head-mounted displays and saw just how immersive it is. If you haven’t ever tried one on, they are so immersive it can even feel disorienting!

Group 1 explorers tried on Oculus Rifts in the Virtual Reality Lab at the FedEx Institute of Technology, right on the University of Memphis campus!

Group 2 was introduced to a game created by one of our guest speakers from Autozone, Mr. Brodrick Stigall, who developed his game entirely from scratch. His game is a fighting game based on DragonBall Z. Our explorers fell in love with the game as they rooted between Super-Saiyan Goku and Mr. Buu.

Brodrick Stigall talks about the mechanics of the game he developed all by himself. Our explorers are intrigued!

Then our friends from AutoZone had lunch with our scholars and shared how they got to where they are. AutoZone is the second largest manufacturer of automotive parts and accessories. They are the front door step of technological advancement. The topic for today was how to work in teams and work with conflicting personalities. Our panelists also shared life advice and told our scholars to never give up on their dreams and to set high goals for themselves. They answered many questions as our explorers had lots to ask.

Our explorers took in as much knowledge as they could from our friends at AutoZone!

Earlier our explorers learned how to build a game using Unity3D. Now, our explorers created their own video games using PlayCanvas 3D. Our explorers split up into several teams and worked together to build a scene. Our mentors and volunteers helped out each of our explorers and assisted with any questions they had. Since PlayCanvas 3D can be rendered within a web browser, our explorers can work on games anytime at home or wherever they have access to a computer.

Our mentor Carrie is eager to aid our explorers in creating their games in PlayCanvas 3D!
Devitt of Memphis Game Developers watches the game assets this explorer created come to life.

This wraps up Game Development Day, and it’s easy to say our explorers have been the most excited and enthused we’ve ever seen!

We have great plans in store for next week, Hardware Programming Day!

Check back for updates!