Visit by software developers in game industry

Two software developers from CCP Games, Curt Hartung and Joel McGinnis, recently visited our Starter Labs to speak and take questions from our students.  CCP Games is known for their space science-fiction based hit, Eve Online, and both Curt and Joel have worked on Eve in addition to two newer titles yet to be released.

It was inspiring and fun to hear what life is like as a professional software developer, how they got there, and what suggestions they have for the kids who wish to pursue programming careers.  Curt explained how Python is used to make scripting new objects like spaceships in the game world easier.  Our students begin programming in Python and to learn that it is used in a massive online game was exciting.  He also encouraged the students to give a little bit extra with their projects and really finish out any ideas that they have because it shows passion for what they are doing.  And passion is what shows when they go out into the professional world looking to be hired, says Curt.

Joel talked about how making big budget games is a team effort of programmers, artists, designers, and more.  He showed us how a team might be structured and explained what roles each person has.  He also showed some game screenshots and then asked the students what they saw.  Whether it was characters, action, environmental elements and effects, backgrounds,  or anything else you can imagine in a game, Joel explained that someone had to put it there and that everything was purposeful.  This challenged the students to think about the work involved in what they often take for granted in their games.

Finally, both Curt and Joel jumped in with the kids and tackled some Scratch challenges.  It was fun to see professional programmers sit down with our students and learn about Scratch just like the kids.  Curt even took home instuctions to make his favorite arcade game, Asteroids.

Thank you, guys!  We really appreciate your time and enthusiasm and look forward to having you back next year to inspire a whole new group of kids to learn programming.