Wilton High School adds animation, game design course


A new computer graphics course is being added to the list of class offerings at Wilton High School next year, after the Board of Education approved the class during its June 11 meeting.
The board reviewed and discussed a proposal for a Computer Animation and Game Design class during its May 28 meeting.
The course is designed to provide students with “knowledge, skills and concepts necessary for working within the computer and video game industry.”
The course will be the third level in the high school’s computer graphics sequence.
According to the proposal, the first two levels of the sequence “focus on mastery of technical skills applied to fine arts-oriented work” and the Computer Animation and Game Design course would provide “a real-world framework within which students will apply skills in a creative and collaborative project-based learning environment.”
“We [figured that] students would really like this,” arts instructional leader Rusty Hurd told the board.
“Animation and game design seems to be a driving force to them and it would be good to have something that they’re interested in.”
Hurd said the course will be an advanced computer graphics course where “some kids would do animation [while] some do advanced computer graphics.”
Art teacher Greg Theriault said the course will provide students with “an actual place to employ all the basic art skills in computer design.
“It would almost be as if they’re working in a game studio. They would be coming in with the content and design the various environments that go along with specific games,” he told the board.
“They would have to design a 3D environment in which the game would be taking place — the visual assets. That could be anything from vegetation, rocks, structures and architecture to devices that are carried by the characters themselves.”

Objectives


According to the proposal, the course will teach students:

  • Technological skills for 3D modeling, animation, lighting and asset management within the context of computer game design;

  • Aesthetic and design concepts related to character design, architectural structures and creation of environments within the context of computer game design and animation sequences.


By the end of the semester-long course, students will:

  • Have a fully developed portfolio of game assets related to an individually generated game concept;

  • Demonstrate ability to render objects, characters, structures and environments with plausible dimensionality;

  • Purposefully apply aesthetic and design concepts to their creations.


Interdisciplinary


According to the proposal, the course will require “significant interdisciplinary integration of knowledge from a variety of content areas,” including science, English, music, technology and computer science.
The skills learned in the course will not necessarily be limited to games, Theriault said, “because this concept is used for simulation in the military, NASA, scientific animation like molecular biology and things like that.”
Theriault said the course will “essentially tie in with the technology department at the high school where they do programming.”
“This [course] would be the visual and design aspect of the game,” he said. “The programming is where you take all the pieces and make it into [something].”
Theriault said there are policies and procedures in place that make sure the content is not violent.

Cost


Developmental and resource funds for the course will cost the district an estimated $5,298.80:

  • Total salaries: $1,123.80.

  • Equipment: $3,975.

  • Resource literature: $200.