Been two weeks now, I have been back from camp for two days now. Let me tell you something, for as much as that was to go there and how long it took to get there. It was well worth it! I loved it so much, in the beginning I didn't get along with many kids, me being an urban child and then going there with complete geeks, not just a little geeky, I mean GEEKS! I seemed like a dick, I played pranks and joked around a lot like I do with my regular friends. I guess you don't do that in the geek world.
Well, the first week was to just get to know each other and get used to the schedule at the same time as you have so many hours in the computer labs, about 63 hours a week. So we were taught how to use PhotoShop 7.0 and 3D Studio Max 2009. We learned how to customize textures in PhotoShop and other basic tricks for your meshes that you can make in 3DsMax.
In 3DsMax 2009 we were taught how to create a teddy bear, not textured and let me say very badly done, but fun to learn most of the tools in 3DsMax. We also made an eyeball and placed a texture on the mesh that we had made in PhotoShop. I also made a create and got to play with PhotoShop a bit more to dirty up the create texture. Last modeling tutorial we had was taking a sand texture from a website, and editing it it so when it's placed on a plane in 3DsMax it'll be a seamless texture. So we were taught a lot of Unwrapping
After that, we then were taught rigging. One of the instructors had already made a 3D model of a girl, sci-fi like girl to be exact. We used bipeds so it was pretty basic and not as time consuming as doing custom rigs would be. We then implemented the animation from FPS Creator in with the bones and watched it play out!
Another software we learned was, FPS Creator, a very basic and not so good FPS game engine, but it worked for learning purposes. I like that a whole lot. We didn't use a very updated version of FPS C, but it was good enough. On the first week of that Friday we then had to choose a team to be on, there were 4 teams and about 6-7 kids on each team, then they each had to choose a job from, programmer/scripter, producer, 3D Modeler, 2D artists (Such as texturing), audio guy, writer, level designer or game designer. Now we only had a week to create a game using FPS C, PhotoShop and 3DsMax. We knew all the tools we needed to create one, they also had an already formatted design document to help us out as well. It was a lot more organized and helped us all out. A lot of the kids took up 2 - 3 jobs at once to get it done faster, so it was good. Most of the teams all worked together quite well and got a finished product by the due date. It was pretty easy I guess, I was doing the writing and scripting/programming, at the same time learning some 3D Modeling and texturing as well. It was a little hectic for all teams once we learned what milestones were and our instructors had milestones for us everyday.
I thought we did a very good job, not so good in keeping up with the milestones, but that's because we had some communicating difficulties amongst our team, but we worked it out and got a pretty decent game finished, that I thought at least. As all of this was going on, we toured BlueFang Games and had a couple guest speakers come in to Bentley and talk to us about their jobs and how it all works. We even had actual game industry developers at BlueFang Games show us some of their equipment and showed us the game they are working on, which I can't say anything about because we all had to sign an NDA before even going to this program.
Overall, this program is 10/10 and the best for introduction into the game industry for teens. Shows us a lot and makes us want to learn more than just what we were interested in!
I might just go back next year as well.
Now to make it even better, the day I left I got an hour and a half to hang out with a freelance music composer who lives in MA. I have known him over the computer from GameDev.net for about three years now, it was great actually getting to meet him and eat lunch with him. His name is Matt Myers. Some of you may have heard of him and some may not, but he is a really great music composer for indie RPG games. You can see his website by searching 2EastMusic in google. Some of his finest work, also, Garagegames.com the makers of Torque game Engine have his content packs into one pack on their website in the audio section as well. Some may also know him from Anime Conventions and some of you may know him by the lead singer of L33tStr33t Boys!
Well, that was my two weeks at the Emagination Game Design program, hopefully most of you will look into that and try it out some year!