Earlier this month, Marc, Courtney and Tyler visited La Salle High School, Marc’s alma mater, to talk about computer animation and what it’s like working on UNDR[H2O].
After the trip, we chatted with Marc about the experience of going back to high school for a day, discussing game development and VR with students, and more. Read on to see what he had to say about the opportunity.
Q: What was the purpose of GuessworkVR’s trip to La Salle High School?
A: The purpose of the trip was to engage and educate future game developers on the growing virtual reality industry. We wanted to talk about how we, and therefore they, have the very real capabilities of thriving and even driving the industry. We also wanted to get even more hands on UNDR[H2O], and we came up with a few new ideas based on student suggestions.
Q: What topic(s) did you guys discuss?
A: We discussed the process we went through to pick UNDR[H2O] as our first game and how it was originally a side project before moving it to center stage. We discussed VR as an industry and where we think it is headed and what we believe GuessworkVR’s role will be on that path. A few students asked how to get into game development, and we basically went over how we got to where we are today: practice and people.
Q: About how many students did you present to?
A:We presented the game to around 60 or 70 students, and around 25 got to actually play the game.
Q: Of the ones who did get to play UNDR[H2O], what did they think of it?
A: They all seemed to really like the game and even turned it into a competition seeing who could get the highest score, which was 1182, I believe. My favorite part was when one student was getting really frustrated saying, “This sucks. This sucks! You know what? This game is actually really fun.” They seemed to pick up the controls fairly easily, aside from a few kids that had trouble with the grips.
Q: What was it like going back to your old high school for a day to present to a new slew of students?
A: It was great seeing my former teachers and and some of my old artwork in the computer lab we presented in. A couple of my favorite teachers even stopped by to see part of the presentation and a bit of gameplay. It was really surreal going back to my high school after only five years and saying, “I’m working with a new virtual reality game company” to some of my teachers. I remember when I was at La Salle, there was a school-wide assembly because one of the graduates from the 90s was giving a talk about being a millionaire, or something like that. So it was really cool to be on the other end giving the talk.
Q: Were the students interested in the presentation?
A: Students were definitely interested. 90 percent of them had never used any sort of virtual reality, and the few that did were only familiar with Gear VR. It was really cool seeing them walk in as either Courtney or myself were playing the game. There were some jaws being dropped. Of course there was a group of 10 kids that were extremely interested and were constantly asking questions, not only about virtual reality, but about our game in general: mechanics, lore, art, all kinds of great questions. That’s the group of kids that really benefited the most from the presentation. We even had a student ask if we were looking for interns.
Q: If you had to give one piece of advice to those students interested in VR gaming and computer animation, what would it be?
A: Download Maya or 3DS Max and just practice. Make bouncing ball animations, little trinkets, LEGO people, anything. Put in the seat time, and you will see results.