Welcome to our first Summer Camp Preview Post! Each week we’ll give you all a sneak peek at what our campers will be doing in a given week of the Bits + Bytes sessions of Bit Space Summer Camp 2016. In this first installment, we’ll be covering Week 7, where our Bits campers will be making Skateboards, and upstairs the Bytes campers will be making Skater Pro! Let’s dive into these projects and show you what they’re all about.
If you were with us for Summer Camp 2015, you may remember one of our most popular projects: skateboards. We’re repeating it this year, drawing from what we learned in order to make this year’s project even better than the last! It’s going to be hard to top last year’s BitSkaters, though: they did a fantastic job and made some incredible boards. Are you up to the challenge? Get in here and show us what you got!
The first thing you need to do is carve the shape of your board. You will use plaster scrapers, drywall knives, and other tools on insulating foam or styrofoam to cut away from the block and make a negative mold for your wood.
If you do really well, you’ll have success face.
Next you will take layers of wood veneer (that’s just a fancy word for “very thin sheets of wood”), glue them together from both sides, and stick them in a vacuum bag with your mold.
Using a hand-powered vacuum pump, you’ll suck all the air out of that bag, causing your layered and glued wood veneer to bend and mold to the insulation you cut earlier. With the help of our Guides and an overnight drying process, you’ll end up with plywood! Yes, the same material you can buy at the hardware store.
Once it’s fully dried and hardened, our Guides will walk you through the process of designing, tracing, and finally cutting out the shape of your board. Here you’ll use one of our most exciting tools: the jig saw.
This not the end, however! You still have to smooth, sand, paint, decal, and varnish the board, and only then can you attach the wheels!
Strong, functional, and uniquely yours from top to bottom, your creations will be the envy of all your friends! Be the only kid on the block with a custom board!
Bytes: Skater Pro
Have you met our friend Tom Eagle? You will in this exciting week of Bytes camp! (No relation to the other bird-named pro skater, of course.)
In this week, our campers will be using Unity 3D, a free professional game development environment. It’s exactly the same software real-world adult game designers use to make commercial games, including many of the games you may play on your phone or online. It’s the real deal: it doesn’t pull any punches, and it’s certainly not designed to be kid-friendly, but don’t worry! It’s great, and honestly not that hard to learn. Most importantly, it’s an extremely powerful package, so we’re going to be able to do all sorts of fun stuff!
Our theme for this week is going to be Skater Pro, but the results will be entirely up to you! Campers will group up into teams — as small as two, and as large as five. Your group will determine the scope, goal, and limits of what can happen in your individual project. Will it be a game? Will it be strictly a simulation? How will it be engaging and / or fun? How many players will it support? How will you interact with the game? Is there an end goal, and what does it look like? How do you win? Can you win? You will have to answer these questions and more as part of the design process!
No previous knowledge of coding or Unity is assumed; we’re going to teach you everything you need to know (and probably some things you don’t). You’ll be able to divvy up the work necessary to complete your project, but some things we’re going to cover include: Unity and world-building, coding with C# and programming behaviors, physics and physics simulations (with real-world and virtual examples), game balance and difficulty, interface design and usability, and much, much more! The whole time we’re going to refer back to real-world examples and draw lessons from professional games and simulators to inform our decisions.
Check out the video below to see a brief demo of something you might make!