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HesperiaStar.com
  • VVHS class builds 'Edutainment' video games

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  • VICTORVILLE — A group of Victor Valley High School students recently received the top honor, for the third year in a row, in a national contest focused on building educational video games for students.
    “Team Genesis” as they are called, got first place in the high school division of the eighth annual Future App Game Designer Challenge, for their game called “Distance.”
    In the game, a cube-shaped robot travels through various mazes in order to collect points and must solve math problems related to calculating the distance of two points in order to continue on his journey.
    A second VVHS team took second place for a game called “Temple,” which also requires players to solve math problems as they traverse a jungle in order to progress to an Aztec temple.
    “Both games submitted were excellent and arguably either could have won the competition this year,” said one of the judges, Donna Goodman, in a written statement. “I am very proud of all of Denise (Roderick)’s students. She has a great program at VVHS, and year after year they keep submitting terrific games.”
    Daniel Alcala, 19, was team lead on the first-place team. He said he hopes to become a video game designer after receiving his associate degree in software development from ITT Technical Institute in San Bernardino.
    “He really gets it,” Roderick said. “He could intern, and as long as he continues increasing his skills he could get a job doing this.”
    Alcala said the most difficult part of creating the game was deciding the storyline.
    Students also build their own graphics and sounds using various free programs such as Microsoft Paint and the website www.Soundation.com.
    As part of the competition standards, students had to turn in a developer’s log, document their code, show how their game helped meet state and national learning standards, and create marketing materials such as posters and DVD cases and labels. They also had to create an engaging storyline and be sure their games had real educational value.
    “It wasn’t that difficult because I already made a game last year,” Alcala said.
    Roderick has taught the class at VVHS since 2007 using curriculum provided by CTeLearning.com. She said students come in with little to no programming experience and leave with their own 3-D game after learning the Dark Basic Pro game-coding language.
    She describes the course as a “real, high-tech internship.”
    “I always expect them to win and it feels great that they did win,” Roderick said about the teams’ competition results.
    The high school’s first-place team consisted of leader Daniel Alcala, Erick Resendiz and Malik Ludden.
    The second-place team included Miguel Rios, Christian Molina and Jesus Lopez.
    Both groups were up against at least a dozen high school teams, according to Steve Waddell, founder of I Support Learning Inc. the sponsor of the contest.
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