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April, 29 2006  

Game Developers at Microsoft's Studio ZR Present to UVGA Students at the University of Baltimore
Kevin Brown, senior art director, and Leon Pryor, program manager, at Microsoft's Studio ZR will talk about and demonstrate the Xbox and PC games that they create for Microsoft Game Studios. Students will have a chance to interact with the developers. Leading titles developed by the studio include Flight Simulator, Rise of Nations and Zoo Tycoon. They are also the publishers of the upcoming Massively Multiplayer Online Game, Vanguard. The program will take place at the University of Baltimore Student Center, 5th floor auditorium, and is free and open to the public. Contact Tia Greene,, for details.

Winter/Spring 2006  

Urban Video Game Academy at Baltimore Talented Development High School
Students enrolled in the UVGA program at Baltimore Talented Development High School in Baltimore, Maryland, are being introduced to Alice, a popular, object-oriented, Java-based, computer-programming environment created by Carnegie Mellon University researchers, and to Game Maker by Mark Overmars, a program that allows you to make computer games without the need to write code. The classes take place after school on Tuesday - Thursday and include a math primer and discussions about the game development industry. On Friday, April 7, students will showcase the games they created using African masks and Game Maker to parents and teachers.

Fall 2005 - Spring 2006

Urban Video Game Academy at McKinley Technology High School
Sixty students are enrolled in the UVGA program at McKinley Technology High School in Washington, DC. Students are being introduced to programming (Java), digital art (Photoshop) and animation (Maya) for game design. The classes take place on Saturday and include a math primer and discussions about the game development industry.

University of Baltimore Game Engine Project
Twenty undergraduate students at the University of Baltimore are evaluating game engines for UVGA to determine their feasibility for school-age students and novice game designers. The class takes the place of a conventional internship for students pursuing the Bachelor of Technical or Professional Studies in Simulation and Digital Entertainment at the university. Four tools will be evaluated by teams of four to six students: RenderWare, Torque, Blitz3D and Blender. The aim of the class is to explore these tools to answer the following questions:

  • Which software offers the best balance between authoring power and difficulty of use?
  • Which software has the best existing learning materials?
  • What skills and knowledge must students acquire before approaching the software?
  • Is it worthwhile for UVGA to adopt a simple game engine or would the organization be better served by continuing with Flash and other alternatives?

Each team will produce an original demonstration project using their assigned tool and will document their work, summarizing the strengths and weaknesses of the tools.


Summer 2005

This summer UVGA offered programs at schools in Washington, DC, and Baltimore, Maryland. The program in Washington, DC, was held at McKinley Technology High School, where 25 students were introduced to digital art and animation for games using Alias Maya. The Baltimore program took place at Digital Harbor High School as part of the Children's Defense Fund Freedom School summer program. A total of 49 students were introduced to animation using Macromedia Flash.

Both classes included discussions about the history of video games, careers in the video game industry, and diversity and social issues in video games.

One of the most rewarding experiences for the students was having minorities who work at the major video game development studios speak to and encourage them. The Digital Harbor High School students also spent an afternoon touring a game development studio in Hunt Valley, Maryland.


"We believe UVGA has its fingers on the pulse of a program that will motivate disadvantaged youth."

— Roderick Woodruff, UVGA cofounder