Game Day: PTECH students show their new video game creations to the public

Students of the HFM BOCES Foothills PTECH's Academy of Gaming Arts & Sciences demonstrate the digital game they created Wednesday at Johnstown High School. The students are: Anthony Tybor, seated; and standing, Patrick Clemence and Dayton Bush. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN — Coursework by secondary students enrolled in the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services Foothills Pathways in Technology Early College High School Academy of Gaming Arts & Sciences has progressed this school year to the point of them creating their own digital computer games.

PTECH students showed off and demonstrated their creative games for fellow students, educators and the public Wednesday at the academy’s Media Center base of operations at Johnstown High School.

Last December, academy students enrolled board games they created.

JHS English teacher Kristin DuGuay, academy program coordinator, said Wednesday that the course has now evolved to the point of the students developing their own digital games. Through project-based learning, she said the games borrow from many subject areas.

“We took all the subjects they were learning,” DuGuay said.

Vincent McCallum, owner of Johnstown's Toying Around, on Wednesday at Johnstown High School plays a game created by HFM BOCES Foothills PTECH's Academy of Gaming Arts & Sciences students. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

Those subjects included physics, English, global studies, algebra, Spanish and art.

BOCES says the PTECH Academy of Computer Science & Game Arts at JHS immerses advanced students in the world of digital gaming, computer science, web development, and related fields.

Through the Foothills PTECH program, students will be able to earn associate degrees such as Web and Mobile Applications Development, Digital Media Technology and Design, and Computer Information Systems.

Using everything they’ve learned so far, DuGuay said the PTECH students this school year learned a coding language and built a computer game.

“We have some amazingly good creations,” she said.

HFM BOCES Foothills PTECH’s Academy of Gaming Arts & Sciences students Donovan Douglas and Anastasija Morse demonstrate their digital game, “Demon Euphoria.” (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

In making their games, DuGuay said academy students were guided by Assassin’s Creed, an action-adventure stealth video game franchise; and Minecraft, a sandbox video game.

She said the students had to “create a zombie apocalypse” borne out of a devastating situations such as, for example, the 1986 Soviet nuclear accident at Chernobyl or the Black Plague.

Taylor VanSlyke, PTECH school counselor, surveyed the groups of students aged 14 and 15 showcasing their platform games at JHS and smiled.

“This is super impressive,” she said.

Student Patrick Clemence — in a group with fellow students Anthony Tybor and Dayton Bush — said that from a non-technical standpoint the PTECH students immersed themselves in the subject matter.

“The students are learning about diseases,” Clemence said.

The group said it was tough to get the characters to jump at different levels, but worked it out in their game.

Vincent McCallum, owner of downtown Johnstown’s Toying Around, played one of the games and came away impressed.

“That game is hard,” he said.

McCallum said the fact that the academy was showing off the newly-created student games to the public was excellent.

“A day of games is awesome,” he said.

In their game, “Demon Euphoria,” students Anastasija Morse and Donovan Douglas took the disease tuberculosis, which usually attacks the lungs, and incorporated it in their game.

“The zombies are made with blood coming out of their mouth,” Morse noted.

Douglas added, “These zombies are ruthless.”

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.

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