June 29, 2010
Dallas, Texas – Teens and tweens are engaging both sides of their brain at the Guildhall Academy, a two-week intensive summer camp in which middle school and high school kids build their very own 2D video games using Microsoft’s ® XNA™ technology and a starter kit developed by Southern Methodist University.
Taught by renowned faculty of The Guildhall at SMU, one of the nation’s leading graduate video game development education programs, the camp enables kids to integrate the principles of science, math and art to transform their passion into a tangible creation.
In its fourth year, the Academy strives to provide a distinctive experience to as many kids as possible. “Students are honing core skills, while expressing their individuality in a next-generation medium,” said Dr. Peter Raad, executive director and founder of The Guildhall at SMU.
“The generosity of our sponsors makes this venture possible. Microsoft XNA continues to be a vital supporter, and we’re honored that the Texas Governor’s office is participating this year with a $10,000 sponsorship.”
According to Raad, without the tuition assistance provided by sponsors, nearly twenty-five percent of the camp’s students would have been unable to attend.
“Texas is committed to ensuring that students have the opportunity to excel in the increasingly competitive global economy through an education in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields,” said Leah Smith, animation and video game liaison for the Texas Film Commission, Office of the Governor. “We are proud to sponsor The Guildhall Academy’s video game development camp for middle and high school students, which gives students of all backgrounds the invaluable opportunity to learn about the STEM fields in a hands-on environment.”
This year, diversity is present in many forms. Kids come from not only the DFW area, but also from Harlingen, TX, and even from as far away as Taipei, Taiwan. A Killeen, TX, student hails from a multi-generational military background; one child’s caregiver is a prison minister and one teen is caregiver to his sick mother. A proclivity for video games began at two years of age for one student, another took up drawing when he was 5 years old and a decade later is on the road to becoming an artist.
The Academy offers two camps each summer. At the conclusion of the two-week development cycle, students showcase their games to parents and guests. They leave with a glimpse into potential future careers, a sense of achievement and a true product of their imagination.
About The Guildhall at SMU
The Guildhall at Southern Methodist University is the premier graduate video game education program in the U.S. Many of the school’s founders are industry icons, and classes are taught by industry veterans. In seven years, the program has graduated over 340 students, and alums have worked at more than 100 video game studios around the world, with several graduates now serving in leadership positions. SMU offers both a Master’s degree and a graduate Professional Certificate of Interactive Technology in Digital Game Development, with specializations in art creation, level design, and software development. For more information, please visit http://guildhall.smu.edu.
The Guildhall at SMU