Game Development Major Amplifies Esports Club, Plans Swoop Game

Move over, Mario, Sonic and Pikachu – there’s a new hero in town.

“I’m building a platformer game based on Swoop,” said James Mendez ’26, a member of the first class of the new game development major. “In my game, he has to fight a dragon to save his village from destruction.”

Now in his second year as a game development/computer science major, Mendez is beginning to storyboard and design the game’s story, as well as study UNITY software, the standard in game development. “Next year, I’ll take the art classes I need to design the characters.”

His Student Showcase project will be a playable demo of the game.

James Mendez in Computer Science Club House
James Mendez

“Many people think building a game is easy. In the real world, it takes multiple people to build a game, but here, we learn how to do all the parts of it so that we can be better prepared.”

James Mendez '26

Game Development & Computer Science Double Major

He got into gaming when he first played Super Mario 64 at his cousin’s house. “When I was growing up, I enjoyed the way tech was evolving and wanted to learn how to work in that,” he said. “But as I got older, I realized that not only could I play video games, but I could design them too.”

It’s part of what drew him to Hartwick. With many of his game development classes online, he can work at his own pace, which gives him more free time to serve as the president of the Computer Science Club and as a student senator.

But one of his biggest accomplishments, he said, was re-invigorating the College’s Esports team, with a slate including Overwatch, Call of Duty, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six and Counterstrike. They stream tournaments on their Twitch stream every Thursday at 8:30 p.m. and are already being sought to compete in off-campus events next semester.

And he hopes that, when he’s finished, his Swoop game will live on. “Someone built an arcade cabinet in the computer science lab,” he said. “I’m going to try and upload my game to that before I leave.”

Also on that arcade machine? Super Mario 64. “I like to go in and play it occasionally,” he said. “Reminds me why I started this journey in the first place.”

February 21, 2024
Campaign, Game Development, Spotlight

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