Teen Gaming Academy Expands to Seattle, Chicago

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Summer video game development program for teens teaches young students real-world gaming skills with professional level software.

"There’s a thrill in seeing your (game) ideas come to life,” said Liebert.

The iD Gaming Academy, a specialized intensive summer game development boot camp for teens, has announced two new locations for its summer 2010 lineup. Now in its 5th season, the iD Gaming Academy has expanded to Seattle and Chicago. The two-week program immerses students in game theory, development, graphics—and other crucial “behind the scenes” aspects of the industry. “We have a lot of gamers who come to us expecting the experience to be easy—but developing games requires patience, the ability to work in teams—and you’ve got to be good. The industry is growing, and the competition is strong. We give our students a leg up,” said Pete Ingram-Cauchi, CEO of the iD Gaming Academy.

The Academy has locations at Stanford University, Villanova University, Emory University, and now the University of Washington in Seattle and Lake Forest College in Chicago. The summer programs are strategically located close to some of the country’s premiere gaming studies including Electronic Arts®, Valve®, Microsoft® Game Studios, Hi-Rez Studios and Big Huge Games. The Academy incorporates tours of many of these studios into its curriculum. “We want to give them a taste for what a real gaming studio looks like and feels like,” said Ingram-Cauchi.

The Academy hires industry professionals with game development experience. Jay Vales is a 3D Modeling instructor at the Academy, and has professional credits working on many well known games including the massively multi-player online role playing game (MMORPG) World of Warcraft®. Alex Liebert, another Academy instructor, is an indie game developer and owner of Aqualux Deluxe which is a web based action/puzzle game.”It’s really gratifying to see the satisfaction in a student’s face at the moment something clicks—when they’ve wrapped their head around a tough concept and created something they’re proud of. There’s a thrill in seeing your (game) ideas come to life,” said Liebert.

Teen students look to the Academy to teach the building blocks of gaming. And it might be a smart choice for those considering the potential of the gaming industry as a career choice. A nod to the long term sustainability of gaming, a recent BusinessWeek article outlined the fact that the video game industry posted $1.52 billion in March 2010 sales, up 6% over the same period a year ago. The growing importance of video games is hard to miss. A recent USA Today article stated that Erskine Bowles, head of the Obama administration's budget-balancing task force, had contacted Microsoft® CEO Steve Ballmer to see if the company could build a video game that would allow gamers "to take a stab at balancing the budget."

Fortune 500 companies are also getting into the game. The United Parcel Service (UPS) recently announced they are looking to hire 25,000 truck drivers. But there is one catch. Applicants will need to prove they are ready for the job by completing virtual training through, you guessed it, video game simulations.

And recently, Google, Inc. CEO Eric Schmidt suggested that playing multiplayer video games “ is good training for a career in tech,” and if he were 15 years old, that’s what he’d be doing right now.

The summer gaming camp provides instruction in different two-week courses, and enhances the gaming experience with gaming tournaments powered by NVIDIA®. The teen camp courses include Modeling and Animation with Maya® (the industry leading development tool used in top-selling video games like Resistance 2™), and Programming for Game Consoles, which allows users to develop games for delivery on the PC or Xbox 360®. Other academy courses include Level Design – Unreal® Engine 3, where Teens mod Unreal® Tournament 3 with the same engine used for the Gears of War and Bio Shock series.

So, Mom and Dad, how about all those hours “wasted” in the basement playing video games? It looks like it just might be an investment after all.

About the iD Gaming Academy
The iD Gaming Academy, operated by iD Tech Camps, is North America’s #1 provider of summer camps and teen gaming camps at 60 elite universities in the USA and Canada. Locations include Stanford and , Villanova University and Emory University. Established in 1999 in Silicon Valley, the company is family-owned and operated. iD Tech Camps offers technology courses including 3D Video Game Design, 3D Game Modding, Maya®, Video Game Programming, Programming in C++ and Java, Programming iPhone® Apps, Robotics, Web Design, Flash® Animation, Graphic Arts, Digital Photography and Video Editing. The summer youth camps consist of weeklong day camps and sleep away camps, and multi-week teen academies. Courses are appropriate for beginner to advanced learners. The company teaches the latest technologies from Apple®, Adobe®, Microsoft®, Autodesk®, Sony®, Valve® and more.


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Karen Thurm Safran
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