“No programming experience required,” is bolded across the top of the myUMBC event page for the “Intro to Game Developing” workshop, which was held this past Tuesday in the ITE building.
The workshop was hosted by Code.Life, a special interest club that was founded this semester with the aim to “Teach UMBC students with no previous coding experience how to write basic, fun computer programs and games,” according to their myUMBC page.
Although Code.Life is new this semester, and is still a small organization, it means a lot to junior computer engineering major Chantal Tan.
“When I transferred here last semester, I struggled with finding the right club for me. It feels like a lot of these STEM clubs, for you to really enjoy being in that club, you have to be an expert in a certain field. And I just felt kind of out of place. Because a lot of people know [a lot] and I just felt like a newbie. So one of the reasons why I wanted to be a part of [Code.Life] is because I wanted this club to be more friendly with a lot of different STEM topics, but also related to coding and other interests as well,” says Tan, who is running the workshop tonight.
The workshop is focused on “tools for game developing (Visual Studio, Unreal Engine, Unity, etc.), tips for game developing in general and for smartphones and computers; and implementing (realistic) physics in games,” according to the MyUMBC event page.
Tan is still in the process of deciding what project to have the club focus on this semester.
“I just want to help people apply coding to whatever it is that interests them. The last meeting I had, a member wanted to make a game, which is one of the reasons why I came up with this workshop,” says Tan.
Getting Code.Life off the ground has been Tan’s main focus so far. Although she isn’t the founder of the club, Tan has been working hard to attract more members. She was at involvement fest and has been reaching out to several STEM related groups.
Carly Heiner, freshman computer science major, found out about Code.Life through living on the CWIT Living Learning Community (LLC).
Center for Women In Technology is “a merit-based scholarship program dedicated to increasing the representation of women in creating technology and in engineering and information technology fields,” according to the program website. It is one of seven scholars programs, which are available to students in certain academic disciplines.
Living on the CWIT floor helps Heiner feel more connected to her major.
“You know the people living around you are struggling with the same homework problems. It’s nice just to walk into the [floor] lounge and everyone is working on the same thing,” says Heiner.
Heiner is also involved in HackUMBC and CyberDawgs, the Cyber Security Defense Team.
The workshop is also entirely female. This is not so unusual, says Heiner.
“For certain clubs, there’s sometimes a majority of women. Other ones it can be kind of intimidating, like Cyber Defense [Team], there’s definitely more guys.”
One of Tan’s main goals for Code.Life is to attract more non-STEM majors. She is very excited to see Abby Cotton, freshman history major, attending the workshop.
“I’ve always liked computers and I did some coding in high school. And I thought it would be interesting to see if I really want to take an actual class on it,” says Cotton.
Within the computer science major, UMBC offers a Game Development Track for students interested in pursuing a career as a game developer, according to the department website.
Code.Life has general body meetings every Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. in ITE 229. Interested students should contact Chantal at email@example.com.