Video Game Creation Lessons from John Null
The executive director of TechWorks! Susan Sherwood always describes John Null as a star and brilliant student. Null has been involved in volunteering since summer 2017.
It was Eileen Head, lecturer and undergraduate program director, who helped him to get a volunteering position at TechWorks!
TechWorks! itself is a non-profit community from the Center for Technology & Innovation. Its main objective is to document and feature a long-term and rich history of the Southern Tier. It is located in the old Binghamton Ice Cream Company factory. TechWorks! organizes different technology-related exhibitions and keeps a huge inventory of vintage technology.
Different students come here and choose any work they can do. For example, Binghamton student created a TechWorks! website, while another created a ringtone app. John Null was teaching a video game coding class to a local community.
The first assigned to Null task was to create a software that could connect to a vintage printer. After this, he stated that he wanted to expand his knowledge and skills in some other areas. Running on the TechWorks! Facebook page, John started helping with different events.
Josiah Bahl came to the community about an event called Global Game Jam. He said that it was a great experience for him during college, and it would be great to start it up in Binghamton. Global Game Jam serves for game development. Different people of all ages can join it, share ideas, and create own games. However, it requires a specific knowledge of a program called Unity. The majority of local people are not familiar with it.
John Null learned Unity during one of his projects. He spent a whole summer learning it in details. Thanks to his experience, Null was taken to assist Bahl in giving a course on the Unity at TechWorks! All people had a free access to the class, so there was a great number of attendees – about 20 of them. There were even families, who came together to get some new experience.
There was a lesson plan created to cover everything over two weekends. The timeframe was met. There was even some time left, which was spent by one-on-one. Actually, Null did it alone, when Bahl did not have an opportunity to meet students on the second weekend. Those classes were truly useful, giving the background for those are planning to compete in Global Game Jam.
What is about Null? He is still in his volunteering position at TechWorks!, even when there is not so much time during the school year. John is planning to create a virtual reality bobsled app when he has more time. This plan is inspired the Australian bobsled from the 2014 Sochi Olympics.