College leads in game development

Pakuranga College revelled in the opportunity to showcase their game at a prestigious developers meetup. Photo supplied

A group of enthusiastic Pakuranga College students recently had the opportunity to take their game development and shine it in the spotlight at an Auckland University of Technology event.

Yuewei Zhang, Luke Denvir, Daniel Deng and Matthew Creahan are members of the school’s Software and Game Development Club.

On June 7, they visited the university along with six other Pakuranga College students to attend the Auckland Game Developers Meetup – also attended by industry experts and game development professionals.

Pakuranga College teacher Tyne Crow, who helps to run the game and software development club, has personally been attending the game developers meetups for years and said many who attended were very impressed with the quality of work produced by the students.

The students demonstrated three different games created in Unity 3D – one of the world’s leading game development kits – including a virtual reality sledding game the group has been developing.

Year 11 student Luke, who is one of the creators of the VR Sledding game, said the meet-up was “extremely valuable”, offering the group an opportunity to share their work with experts and receive feedback from those who understand what makes a game successful.

Since year 9, the students have worked together, learning 3D modelling software skills, wrapping their heads around game development kits and figuring out how to streamline the process of batching all created content into one project.

Connecting with the community at the Meetup was part of the wider process the students have been undertaking, by engaging with online game development communities like Discord and Twitter to seek feedback on their games.

AUT lecturer, Meetup organiser and board member of the New Zealand Game Developers Association, Ben Kenobi, said building connections is one of the main outcomes from the Meetup.

“It is really great to build connections between high schools and the NZGDA. The AKLgamedev Meetup connects students to local developers and educators to open career pathways, not just in game development, but also in the many related areas in which the transferable skills they develop can be used.”

Mr Crow said the process of developing the games has allowed the students to develop a wide range of skills required to author digital content, but also facilitated the development of broader skills like collaboration and communication through the process of team work and regular peer reviewing.

The group plans to polish the game into a final product that can be sold later on.