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Comp Sci comes alive in Animation and Game Design

Loud sound effects and the clicking of controllers or computer mice fill the rooms of many teenagers. While stressing out doing tasks in electrical in Among Us, or spending hours strip-mining for diamonds in Minecraft, many may wonder how any of this is possible. Animation and Game Design, a new course to West Essex for spring 2021, is an opportunity for students to answer some of these questions.  

“I chose to take this course because I’ve always had an interest in knowing what makes things like animations and games work,” senior Aidan Jedwabnik said. 

The course is available for anyone who has completed Intro to Computer Science CPA or AP Computer Science Principles. It focuses on many specific aspects of computer science, including prototyping, code, game theory and the iterative process, which is the repetition of an action in animation. 

Computer Science teacher Vincent Carchietta will head this course when it starts in the spring. He has been in the mathematics department at West Essex since September 2014 and also teaches different computer science courses. Before West Essex, he worked at Hanover High School from January 1999 to June 2014 in mathematics and computer science. These years of experience help him easily teach this new course, he said, even if he’s never actively taught game design and animation before.   

“The courses all fall into one another,” Carchietta said. “Coding is a very progressive thing; once you learn the basics of one language, they all sort of fall into place.”

Although there will be group projects, coding is largely focused on individuality and problem-solving, Carchietta said. With this, students will have the chance to learn about their specialties. 

“They actually have an opportunity like any art class to develop their own style, to develop their own ideas and to expand outside of class,” Carchietta said.    

After many individual and group projects throughout the semester, the final project may give students the freedom they are looking for. 

“The favorite part is going to be the final project where they get to make their own game,” Carchietta said. 

Senior Aidan Jedwabnik’s interest in role-playing games may help him decide what he is going to make for his final project. 

“I’m not quite sure what I’m going to be doing for my final project but it might be an RPG game because I am very fond of those,” he said. 

For most students, a large part of choosing courses in high school has to do with where they see themselves going to college and what they see as their future career. Although Animation and Game Design is a very specific part of computer programming, it doesn’t just limit students to this. 

“Computer programming is every field, whether you are going into marketing, design, financial analysis, designing apps or big data,” Carcietta said. S.T.E.M. is one of the big pulling points for colleges, and I know colleges love to see students that have computer programming on their resume.” 

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