One day, Jake Dugger may create the most popular online video game for people of all ages.
At least, that’s his plan now.
“I just love video games, and I love making them even more. I like to make funny ones because I love laughing and making other people laugh,” Jake, 10, said Thursday at the Sylvan Learning Center. “You know, it would be nice to make something that makes people happy.”
Jake is one of four children who participated in a weeklong game design and coding camp at the Sylvan Learning Center. The children learned through Tynker, a coding program.
Karina Nunez, a tutor at the center, said the program is designed to help children understand the basics of coding. The program helps children understand how coding can determine the outcome of a project, from game design to science and engineering projects.
The program prepares children for other science and technology projects and also helps build storytelling skills and graphic design.
“The children, from early on, are learning about trial and error, and the best part is that they get to figure out why a certain line of code isn’t working,” Nunez, 30, said.
While some science and engineering projects depend on coding to generate movement in a robotic project, video game and animation design rely on coding to create the whole picture.
Kyle Wainright, 10, compared the project to painting.
“With each code, you create another part of the whole picture. You really get to design what you want,” Kyle said. “It makes me feel accomplished.”
For a game or animation, the children go through dozens of options just for the characters they want in the game, including the type of character (human or otherwise), size, color, movement and dialogue.
If characters have a conversation in the project, the children also have to create the code to time the conversation.
“It is quite a bit that they have to figure out with a clip that may just be several seconds long,” Nunez said. “But then they can start from scratch again and make another project.”
Jake has only created a few games and animations, he said, because he likes to take his time with each project.
Jake’s favorite game is Fortnite, a player-versus-player game with different characters, tools and weapons. The characters can build forts with a variety of materials, and they have the ability to “drop in” to several areas of a map.
The game is internationally known, and this past weekend, gamers competed in a world cup competition, with top competitors taking home millions.
“It’s just a really fun game, and I know if I take my time and really think about what kind of game I want to make – and make it perfect – I don’t know, maybe I can make something on that (Fortnite) level,” Jake said.