Tech Academy hosting web and game development class

Lockport High School student John Hamilton is enrolled in the Web and Game Development Program at Orleans/Niagara BOCES’ Tech Academy. (Contributed image)

SANBORN — There is a saying if you choose a job you love, you will never have to work a day in your life. For many high school students who love technology, specifically video games and web sites, the Web and Game Development Program at Orleans/Niagara BOCES is a great way to explore these careers and prepare for the next step of their lives, whether it is college or the working world.

Teacher Michelle LeFauve says her class is perfect for students to gain experience with a variety of coding languages and game mechanics while using their own creativity to develop projects.

“It’s a hot market right now. Not only are games used for entertainment, the medical field and military are using them to train with simulations,” she said. “Industries such as advertising, consulting and publishing all need web developers. The opportunities are endless.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, web application and design employment is projected to grow 13% in this decade, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. The median salary is $75, 270 with a bachelor’s degree.

Web and Game Development is part of the Tech Academy at Niagara Career and Technical Education Center. The program is designed to help students gain experience with a variety of coding languages and is comprised of one year of web development and one year of game development.

“During the first year of this course students will learn the foundational skills they need to be a web designer,” LeFauve said. “My students will learn how to build websites from scratch using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, as well as, basic design principles. During the second year, the class focuses on game development. I feel that one of the best ways to learn about game mechanics is by building their own board game.”

A highlight for many students is play testing the games they and their classmates build and adjusting the mechanics as necessary.

Christopher Mudd said he is learning a lot in the program . “This really teaches you how to work with other people on a project, which helps you get ready for life,” he said. “I am going on to college for this, so it is a great introduction.”

After students get familiar with the game mechanics in the board game world, they then create 2-D and 3-D video games with GameMaker and Unity, using GML (GameMaker Language) and C#.

“I am learning so much. This is always what I wanted to do,” student Matthew Warren said.

“I just love this class,” classmate Cherokee Fry added. “I am hoping to become a web developer and it is helping me explore what is involved with that and get hands-on experience.”

For more details about the games, check out the class website at: https://mlefauve.wixsite.com/class.

For more information about the program, contact LeFauve at mlefauve@onboces.org.

Lisa Bielmeier is the public relations director at Orleans/Niagara BOCES.

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