Ready, set, game!

Studio Gemini prepares to compete another year in the Oregon Game Project Challenge.


James Favot

From left to right: Khanh Nguyen (10), Xavier Walker (12) and Jimmy Nguyen (12) look through a sketchbook to compile ideas for their game. Studio Gemini is recruiting members to compete in this year’s OGPC.

By James Favot, Copy Editor

     Studio Gemini was one of three Tigard High teams last year participating in the Oregon Game Project Challenge (OGPC), an annual student video game development competition. Although they faced a few setbacks, the team is coming back strong this year and ready to give OGPC another go.

     Senior Xavier Walker, Studio Gemini’s team captain, says he has considered exactly what issues from last year need to be addressed in order to succeed.

     “We were too wrapped up in trying to figure out the code, and it just didn’t work,” Walker said. He and his team had an idea in mind for the type of game they wanted to create but struggled to translate their ideas into code, especially since they were mostly new to the game development engine they were using. But according to Walker, the failure was one of the most important steps in the creative process.

     “No games are [inherently] bad,” Walker said. “All games have flaws.” He went on to describe game development as a “challenging but rewarding process” that emphasizes a need for prioritization and self-discipline.

     Studio Gemini enjoys using GameMaker Studio to program their game because it’s specifically made for 2D games like their own. Nonetheless, sophomore and lead level designer Jake Smith agrees with Walker that initially learning to use GameMaker was a big obstacle for the team last year.

     “The biggest problem was lack of experience and time,” Smith said. Now that they are comfortable using GameMaker, the team is eager to make forward progress.

     “I’m very excited to get something working and build on my ambitions,” Smith said.
    Junior Jojo Hupp, one of the programmers on the team, advises anyone considering a creative field like game development to “dream small and build on that.” She believes attaining a true feeling of success is best achieved through humble beginnings.

     “As you build on [your idea], seeing it grow is so awesome and fulfilling,” Hupp said.

     Sophomore Caden Hanson is another programmer who specializes in sprite design for the team. This year he is not only focusing on the game being made in the present, but what he can do in the future as well.

     “I’m hoping that later on in life I can turn [this] into a career,” Hanson said. Through OGPC he hopes to explore game development as a potential area of focus for later on in life.

     Most of all, Walker appreciates the determined spirit that kept his team coming back for another year of OGPC. He is currently looking to recruit more members interested in actively being a part of this team dynamic.

     “As long as I’m still alive, I’ll make sure this team stays together,” Walker said. No matter what, he emphasized, he is committed to persevering and learning from past mistakes to make their game the best it can be.

     The 2019-20 OGPC season begins on Nov. 16. Studio Gemini meets Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. and invites anyone interested to join as soon as possible before the season starts.