Students study video game design at AIM Brain Exchange camp

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For most children, the final few days of winter break are spent enjoying brand-new toys and gifts or relishing every last moment before returning to school. But, several bright minds spent their holiday break preparing for the future, learning the ins and outs of programming.

Ask 15-year-old Joel Gilbert how much he loves video games, and his passion is obvious.

“’Raft’, ‘Minecraft’ and stuff like that, and first-person shooters like ‘Call of Duty,’” Gilbert said. And playing on a console or PC isn’t the only thing that he enjoys. Gilbert is one of several teens in the AIM Brain Exchange Game Design winter camp. The course teaches high schoolers the basics of building software.

“It’s, like, this is the coding for animation. This is what you need to place this object here,” Gilbert said. Instructor Lucas Hartman spent Thursday coaching the class on the art and beauty of computer programming.

“Designing a game, building the levels, programming them, making some art assets and putting those assets back into the game,” Hartman said.

a close up of a laptop computer © Provided by Hearst Television, Inc.

While the day’s lesson focused on building basic objects such as digital desks and chairs, Hartman said the camp gives students the ability to build their future.

“Technology is coming up, because we have things like virtual reality and augmented reality,” Hartman said.

“Coding and learning how to do that stuff is the future,” Gilbert added.” If you don’t know how to program, it’s going to be a hard time getting a job.”

AIM Brain Exchange offers tech learning opportunities for youth ages 7-17. Adult classes are also available, through the AIM Interface School.