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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Student organization creates community for game developers

Lars+Robertson+works+on+a+3D+asset+on+his+computer.
Photo by Ronnie Mata
Lars Robertson works on a 3D asset on his computer.

From simply playing together to making entire games, Texas Aggie Game Developers creates an environment where video games are viewed as both entertainment and a learning experience.
TAGD is a club that serves as a resource for students to understand how videogames are made and offer a foot-in-the-door experience of how to go about making them. Since 2003, TAGD has been A&M’s club for people who love video games so much that they want to one day make their own.
Computer science junior and TAGD mentor Trevor Higgins assists students with all aspects of the game, from making assets, designing the game, and other creative or technical aspects of game development.
Higgins works at the award-winning LIVE Lab, an undergraduate research institution that specializes in making educational video games and employs a lot of current and former TAGD members. Higgins serves as the lead programmer for LIVE Lab and uses his knowledge of game development at both his job and TAGD.
Higgins traces his love for games back to playing StarCraft on his grandfather’s lap when he was a kid.
“Even if I am playing a single player game, it is something that someone poured their life and passion into that I am being able to experience,” Higgins said. “I want to recreate that for a next generation of people. I want to say I had a hand in telling these stories and bringing people together.”
Electrical systems engineering junior Martin Maxwell serves as vice president of TAGD and as a developer at LIVE Lab. Martin credits TAGD for giving him the skills to follow his passion for game making.
“Before TAGD, I had never made a game before,” Martin said. “I knew how to code, but I didn’t know how to code in Unity. … Over the course of a semester, I learned the ins and outs of making game.”
Maxwell said he would not have learned as much as he has just going into game development without the TAGD experience.
“Since a lot of people in TAGD also work at Live Lab, they give you insight into how the actual career works,” Maxwell said. “Being surrounded by people who encourage you to do it is the driving factor.”
Business management senior and president of TAGD Ashlyn Chatelain said she foresees a bright future for the club and considers membership a step in the right direction for future game developers.
“TAGD has seen major growth in the past two years in part due to the amazing efforts of its officer team, the re-branding of the organization and the increase in the number of industry speakers,” Chatelain said. “That’s why joining an organization like TAGD is great because you get to be a part of a positive learning environment full of members from a wide range of backgrounds and skill levels that all come together to help each other become better developers and gain experience by making games they love.”
Higgins encourages prospective members to pursue what they are passionate about as he did.
“For a long time I was scared to say this is what I want this to be my career,” Higgins said. “Some people might say it’s childish, but it’s not; it’s a full career. … You’ve got to acknowledge that’s who you are. So if anybody is worried about joining the game dev industry, or the art industry, history or whatever, find what you’re passionate about — you’ll make it work.”

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