Paul Paquette, producer of the NESN’s pre-game show for kids, says, “We thought that since kids love video games, they would be interested in how the games get made — and the Becker School of Design and Technology at Clark University is the perfect place to go to teach kids about coding and game design.”
BSDT professors will be featured in five different segments that will air during NESN Clubhouse broadcasts every other Sunday from April 24 to June 19. The show’s airtime is based on the starting time of the day’s Red Sox game — NESN Clubhouse always begins 90 minutes before the game coverage starts.
The BSDT segments on NESN Clubhouse cover all aspects of video game development:
Ezra Cove, a professor of practice specializing in game development, shows how he would create a 3D baseball uniform using software that turns 2D patterns into 3D designs by incorporating gravity, friction, and the physicality of the real world.
Associate Teaching Professor Kathleen Andler focuses on user interface and user experience, and explains that how users interact with a game is a crucial part of developing the best, most-realistic version of the virtual situation. Developers must understand “how people use a game, and interact with a game, and what they want from the experience.”
Terrasa Ulm, professor of practice, highlights the motion capture system that turns real-life movement into virtual character movement, and demonstrates the mechanics of the wireless suit that maps core body parts and their movement so they can be brought to life in the game.
Assistant Teaching Professor Ilir Mborja explores how 3D is created with sprite animation. He explains, frame by frame, how to turn a sketch into animation, and shows how different types of animation can represent different behavior within a game.
Scott T. Niemi, teaching professor of interactive media, talks about character concept art and how the overall look of the game — for example, whether it’s more realistic or cartoonish — should give developers an idea of how a character should be sketched. Many factors, including the temperature of certain colors (whether they are considered warm or cold), play a big role in design.
Assistant Teaching Professor Nevin Flanagan digs into the programming and technical skills necessary for video game design. Scripts should incorporate simplified language, and the code should ensure that fixed things like gravity or physics are respected so that the games are as realistic as possible, which leads to a better user experience.