Springfield High School students can now take a class from a professional video game developer.
David Hazlett, a Springfield graduate and co-founder of a Columbus-based video game company, spends a couple days a week at Springfield High School teaching students.
“You have to know a little bit about physics, you have to know a little bit about coding, you have to know a little bit about design, a little bit about this and that,” Hazlett said about his class. “There is so much you can teach and the kids have fun learning it.”
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The class was first offered a few years ago, but his year is the first time a professional game developer has taught it.
Students are taught how to develop games and then are given freedom to choose what type of game they want to build. Senior Isaac Buzard said he has learned a lot.
“I took this class not only to create video games but because I can create anything I want using video games,” he said.
A market is out there for people who design video games, Buzard said.
“There are a lot of eSports, video games are becoming humongous,” he said. “There are a lot of careers and a lot of money to be made.”
Hazlett agrees, although his company focuses more on “purpose gaming.”
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“We take a need and will build something fun to fill that need,” Hazlett said. “So, for instance, some of the projects we have done is a stroke rehabilitation game, where we help people with stroke gain motor control back.”
He has also made a video game that helps doctors measure movement in kids with muscular dystrophy. In the game, kids are forced to move their arms, and many do so without noticing, he said.
Buzard said he hopes to build a game that will help middle school students get familiar with high school before the first day of school.
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“I plan to make a game based on the high school so when they do come to the high school, they will know the layout and they can find their classes,” he said. “There can be quests and stuff like that. You are not just playing a video game, you are learning.”
Students have a lot of fun in his class, Hazlett said, but they are also learning vital topics that students can use in his class and others.
“We are teaching them engineering topics but kind of trick them by making them make a video game,” he said.