LOCAL ENTREPRENEUR & NERD

I’m Carl Holden, the owner and creative director of Zellus Marketing of Huntsville. I’ve been building websites, modding and creating games, and other general geekery for over 10 years. I also have two years of assistant teaching in an elementary school, camp counselor jobs when I was younger, and four years of church youth leadership. While I love my marketing job, another great passion I have is for teaching. In many ways, I miss being in education.

I believe that if we want Huntsville to be a tech city outside of just government contracting, we have to start in the right place. With VGDC, I think we can start a trend that gets our pre-teens and teens interested in coding and other tech skills. They are our workforce in less than ten years! There’s so many children wasting their creativity on just playing games. There’s no cooler feeling than MAKING a game and watching others play it.

When your kid walks joins our class, I want her or him to brag, “Hey, I became a video game designer!”

SKILLS FOR THE FUTURE

Creating video games has never been more accessible. Just in 2014, more people watched eSports (video games) than watch the World Series or NBA Finals. Video games are here to stay, a new part of our world society and understanding how they work is invaluable. More importantly, video game design can lead to interest in high income careers in programming, digital security, and the more recent cryptocurrency trends.

TEACHING PHILOSOPHY

Our classes focus on building basic skills through hands on experience. We don’t just show how it’s done. Each student will have a computer to interact and copy our instructions. After the class, we want to impart the following skills:

-A basic understanding of HTML and CSS for websites
-Experience in simple command mechanics through activities
-A solid grasp on conditional logic: if/then statements, etc.
-Graphical design of characters, sprites, and other objects
-Introductory knowledge of a real professional design software
-Gradual progression into higher difficulty tasks at a customized pace

This may seem like a lot for children and young adults but we use industry-leading, proven software to teach them and can adjust specific goals to the progression of each designer. I can’t express how excited I am to see their faces when they press execute and play a game they made, it’s simply magic!

SUPPLIES

Every designer will be required to bring their own laptop, headphones, and USB mouse.
 
If you already have a laptop, the short answer is if it can play Minecraft smoothly without problems, it will be a good one to start with.
If you are looking to buy, laptops in the $500 to $800 range are more than sufficient.
Requirements-
  • It must run Windows or MacOSX. No Chromebooks or Android Notebooks.
  • Try to keep screen size comfortable 12.5+ inches as they will be reading, watching, and typing.
  • Pentium i3 is ok but Pentium i5 or i7 is preferred
  • 6 GB RAM minimum
  • 256 GB memory minimum.
  • Onboard graphics card
  • Headphones and USB mouse
Here’s some possible examples. You don’t have to buy these specific ones but they help you understand what one might look like.
Taken care of, a laptop like one of these could last years. If you want tech support/warranty, showing someone these specs at Best Buy might be a good idea as well.