Using Award-Winning Half-Life® 2 as the Canvas, Video Game Camp Allows Teens to Create their Own Unique Gaming Experience, Be Creative

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iD Tech Camps, North America's largest youth summer technology camp, launches unique game modding class with Half-Life® 2 for summer 2010.

Gamers develop such a connection with the games they play.

iD Tech Camps, the largest youth technology summer camp in North America, has announced a new course offering—Teen students can now learn to modify one of the industry’s most popular video games—Half-Life® 2—at 30 university locations across North America this summer.

Video game modding (modification of) has become another aspect of our society’s desire to customize and personalize. The world’s most prestigious shoe company allows you to build and design your own sneakers at Nike.com, and one of the most well-known candy companies, Mars, Inc. makes it possible for customers to individualize M&M’s with their favorite messages or sayings. Today’s consumer loves to make things their own, and today’s technology supports the ability to do so.

While lesser known to the masses, video game modding allows users to alter code to create new items, levels, characters and even storylines---essentially creating their own version of an existing game. Modding’s increased popularity has pushed educators towards incorporating new courses into their curriculum, just as iD Tech Camps has done with their new course revolving around Half-Life® 2.

The sci-fi first person shooter developed by Valve®, Half-Life® 2, received multiple “Game of the Year” awards upon its release, and has since been named “Game of the Decade” by many notable publications. You would think that developers like Valve would oppose users taking heavily-invested, award-winning games and reworking them without limits---but most are supporting such actions by providing tools and documentation to assist aspiring modders. In fact, some third party, independent modifications of popular PC games have even landed on retail shelves for sale to the general public.

Realizing the game’s heralded success and acceptance among Teens, iD Tech Camps pursued the opportunity to work with Valve to provide such a valuable opportunity for students across the U.S. Using the Hammer engine, students learn to sculpt environments, manipulate lighting, add particle effects, and re-skin their favorite Half-Life 2® characters.

“This is another way for us to use industry leading software to facilitate the learning experience,” says Pete Ingram-Cauchi, President and CEO of iD Tech Camps. “Gamers develop such a connection with the games they play. With each level, enemy and piece of arsenal they use and encounter, they begin to creatively think about what they would do differently if they had created the game,” Ingram-Cauchi continues. “This is what we are fostering at our camps---We give students the tools and instruction to implement those ideas to modify the game and make it their own. Using Valve’s Half-Life 2 was an easy decision because of its positive standing among gamers.”

With the new course, iD and Valve are helping teens develop critical thinking skills to personalize gameplay and build a custom game with unique maps and levels, in hopes of that each Teen satisfies their own custom made aspirations.

About iD Tech Camps
iD Tech Camps is North America’s #1 provider of summer computer camps and technology camps for kids and teens with programs at 60 elite universities in the USA and Canada. Locations include Stanford, Princeton and MIT. Established in 1999 in Silicon Valley, the company is family-owned and operated. iD Tech Camps offers technology courses including Video Game Design, 3D Game Modding, Maya®, Game Development, Programming in C++ and Java, Programming iPhone® Apps, Robotics, Web Design, Flash® Animation, Graphic Arts, Digital Photography and Video Editing. The summer 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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Ryan Barone
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