(Note: The writer Joshua Moghaddam is part of the winning STCC Creates team that included Ian Campbell, Travis Smith and Jesse Olsson)

I’d like to start by saying this was the most fun my teammates and I have had ALL YEAR, and we’ve gained more real-world tools in this short period of time than we thought possible! I hope I can encourage anyone who might be intimidated. Even if they aren’t a master programmer or game developer, they can absolutely jump in. The event coordinators do a masterful job of giving you the tools and blueprint to succeed.

We were tasked with making a game based around the theme of student success at STCC. Our faculty leader, Dr. Timothy Randhir, introduced us to a game development app called GDevelop, which allows users to create video games with no prior code experience. After becoming familiar with the software and deciding on a concept, (a two-dimensional platforming game collecting credits and interacting with helpful college characters) we began making our game!

Over dozens of video conferences we began to understand the challenges and issues game developers run into. Our biggest challenge was being unable to effectively pass the project from team member to team member (much like a virtual game of hot potato). Oftentimes versions wouldn’t match up, or the game would be missing crucial parts altogether. We were introduced to GitHub (a platform that hosts your project in the cloud allowing real time edits) and changed our ‘hot potato’ strategy). Roles were assigned to each team member, and our game started taking shape into a Mario style platformer!

This event opened a new world filled with passionate artists who create beautiful sprite textures to talented musicians creating eight bit game themes. The idea of creating a video game seemed like an impossible task before this event, let alone doing it online with 3 other team members. This has absolutely been one of the best experiences, in terms of confidence, real world problem solving, seeing the raw creativity and cleverness of other teams, and introducing new ideas to students. We are beyond thankful to STCC STEM Starter Academy for holding this event and look forward to next year!