Created in 2009, the Summer Game Academy is a young yet innovate approach to teaching high school students the process of game development. It was inspired by a Masters program where Charles Palmer taught and Anthony Ortega was a student. Combining our passion for that program, as well as our own experiences in game development and project management, we created an educationally holistic approach to understanding what it’s like to be on a game development team.
What Makes Us Different
Quite simply, our focus is not on teaching the tools involved in making games. There are myriad tools out there that anyone can pick up and learn how to use from online tutorials and community forums. While we do introduce students to a particular tool, we mainly focus on the more important aspects of communication and collaboration. The skills that all game companies look for are the ability to work well in teams, clearly articulate ideas and decisions to one’s peers, and drive a product from conception to completion.
Most other programs like ours focus on a process called modding, which is a term for modification. Mods allow anyone to take existing assets from already published games and re-purpose them in whatever way the designer sees fit inside of that particular tool. While this is certainly an acceptable method of understanding the game development method, it neglects the communication skills highly sought after in all creative industries as well as other important aspects like the process of creating art assets that work inside of a game engine. That is why we have our students create as much as possible from scratch and, by the end of their time here, have created a working prototype of a game that they imagined and built on their own. This grants a better sense of achievement, ownership, and community within our students, and allows them to continue growing when their time here is finished.