Mason Game & Technology Academy (Fairfax, VA)


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The Mason Game and Technology Academy (MGTA) is George Mason University’s Community Outreach Youth Program and a great place for individuals to find professional development courses, extended learning opportunities, and even Executive Education Certificate programs!

Offered as part of the school’s Virginia Serious Game Institute (VSGI) and the Mason Computer Game Design Program, students 9- to 18-years-old can take courses in computer and video game design, programming, and more. Plus, adults can find enrichment courses to advance their careers or just have fun learning a new skill.

Mason Game and Technology Academy provides students 9- to 18-years-old with a variety of computer courses throughout the summer. Summer Prep programs are offered at George Mason’s Fairfax, Prince William, and Loudoun County locations. Classes include Game Design, Unity and Mixed Reality; 2D Digital Art for Games; After Effects: Art in Motion!; You Can Build a Computer!; Motion Capture; Introduction to Python for Machine Learning/AI; Machine -Learning/AI with Python, Java, C# Game Programming, and so much more!

You can view the complete summer schedule and course listing here.

2020 summer camps include:


Next-Gen Virtual Reality Minecraft Modding: Three Levels of Challenge | Ages 9-14
Multiple dates, see below

A summer favorite returns! Enjoy mod building challenges, team-based adventures, VR tournaments, and so much more!

Beginners will learn to create mods immediately, and share them with friends, by learning a fun and engaging program used to make modding Minecraft as simple and elegant as possible.

Returning students will focus on learning good coding habits in a Java environment, and learn to comment, use Java libraries, and integrate their modding ideas into a final design and creation of their own, unique, customized Mod for Minecraft. Topics covered include the creation of modding blocks, materials, items (including armor), tools, mobs/monsters, environment settings, and recipes. The instructor will walk them through step-by-step how to code each of these modifications. They will use the Java IDE Eclipse, a tool used by many in the software industry and modding community, to create their mods. Students will be able to create, test, and export their mods.

Returning students will also have the option of learning the fundamentals of programming using ComputerCraft, using a custom game created by MGTA Instructors.

Camp dates include:

July 13-17, 2020
July 27-31, 2020

To learn more and register, click here.


Roblox Game Development | Ages 9-14
Multiple dates, see below

This course utilizes the Roblox game platform to teach students game design and development. Students will build multiplayer worlds and use the Lua programming language to create desired game mechanics. During the second half of the course, students will create their own game by choosing from a collection of custom tutorials provided with one of the base game templates provided (Platformer, Racer, RPG). Students will publish their games on Roblox to share with their classmates and their parents.

Camp dates include:

June 29-July 3, 2020
July 20-24, 2020
Aug 3-7, 2020

To learn more and register, click here.


2D Digital Art for Games | Ages 9-17
Multiple dates, see below

This class allows students to create their own characters and worlds and bring them to life! Students will receive general and intermediary digital painting lessons using Photoshop and Wacom Digital drawing tablets. Lessons include texturing, animation, landscaping, shading and coloring techniques, and anatomy.
Students will then learn digital art Photoshop studio tricks and techniques that can be used in game design, auto-cad, architecture, and sciences and medicine visualization. Students will also explore using AI machine-learning models to assist with creating original digital art. By the end of the week, students will become efficient in creating quality works of digital art, skills applicable across many disciplines and professions.

Each section of this class is divided into beginning (ages 9-11), intermediate (ages 12-14), and advanced (ages 15-18) students. Each group works on skill- and age-appropriate assignments so that each student will be challenged.

Camp dates include:

July 13-17, 2020
July 27-31, 2020
Aug 3-7, 2020

To learn more and register, click here.


Introduction to Python for Machine-Learning/AI | Ages 14-18
Multiple dates, see below

Machine-Learning/AI is the newest most exciting sub-field of computer science that is used today to recommend movies and music based on previous selections, to allow a Tesla to self-drive and steer you home autonomously, and to allow an iRobot vacuum cleaner to self-map your home for future precise cleaning.

This Introduction to Python for Machine-Learning/AI week-long course prepares high school students to learn the Python programming language from scratch, but also includes an overview of data science and machine learning/AI using Python. Moreover, learners are given a range of simple to increasingly difficult programming projects in class through an introduction of a range of open-source Python tools, modules, and libraries used in data analysis and machine learning. This course culminates in a fun and challenging project to build a classification machine-learning model to analyze movie reviews.

Camp dates include:

June 22-26, 2020
July 6-10, 2020
July 20-24, 2020

To learn more and register, click here.


Machine-Learning/AI with Python | Ages 14-18
July 27-31, 2020

Machine-Learning/AI with Python is the second course of a two weeks series that introduces high school students to machine-learning programming with Python. This course assumes students have a solid grasp of intermediate-to-advanced Python, as dataset analysis and machine-learning projects are introduced in the first two days. As all machine-learning models must be trained, trimmed, and corrected using clean and complete datasets, so this course begins with an introduction to data science, data classification, data analytics, and dataset compilation. A series of machine-learning/AI algorithms and techniques such as Random Forest, SVM, SVP, Naïve Bayes, nearest neighbor variants, and TensorFlow will be presented through discussions and projects. Moreover, a description and related projects will be assigned using a series of related open-source modules and libraries, such as Scikit-learn, NumPy, Matplotlib, Pandas, Pygame, Keras, NLTK, BeautifulSoup, and VADER. This course culminates in a capstone project to build and customize a neural-network machine-learning powered arcade space shooter.

To learn more and register, click here.


C# Programming | Ages 13-18
Multiple dates, see below

This course will cover the fundamentals of C# programming. It will be taught in conjunction with the Unity Game Engine, as visual examples in Unity allow for an increased understanding of how the code behaves and can be manipulated in practice. To reinforce learned material, small games or “Micro Games” will be created to explore new material. This course will cover Data Types and Structures, Control Structures, Data Arrays and Uses, Functions, Classes, Unity C# integration and programming, and the Basics of compilers. After completion of the course, students will be able to make simple and complex games or software programs using C# programming language, and they will learn the terminology needed to further develop their knowledge on their own.

Camp dates include:

July 20-24, 2020
July 27-31, 2020
Aug 3-7, 2020

To learn more and register, click here.


Java Programming | Ages 13-18
Multiple dates, see below

This course will provide students with a basic understanding of the Java programming process. Object-oriented programming concepts, simple tutorials, and game building examples will be used to learn the Java language and syntax. This course will cover programming basics, input, output, data structures, methods, file io, class hierarchies, and object-oriented programming. A few other topics will be covered as well, chosen based on the student’s engagement and understanding of the core material. In this student-driven programming experience, students will work in small teams closely guided by our instructors, to tackle fun and engaging coding challenges, suited to their learning pace and prior experience.

Camp dates include:

June 29-July 3, 2020
Aug 3-7, 2020

To learn more and register, click here.


Motion Capture | Ages 9-17
July 22-26, 2020

Students will learn hands-on how a physical performance is converted to digital magic, showing them how some of the most popular animations, movies and games are made. This motion capture class will help students work collaboratively to use their imagination and creativity to connect movement, storytelling, and cutting edge motion capture technology. Students will be provided an overview of motion capture in entertainment, and then get to dive right in to use the state of the art wireless motion capture equipment, working together to create a short animation which the will import into a 3D environment to tell a short story. At the end of the class, each student will have a digital copy of their motion capture experience to take home. They will learn how to naturally tell a story through body language and movement, and how it connects into pretty much all forms of the entertainment industry today!

To learn more and register, click here.


You Can Build a Computer! | Ages 13-18
Multiple dates, see below

Students will learn the fundamental structure of computer hardware. Whether a computer runs Windows, Mac, Linux, or other OS, all computers use the same hardware. This course will cover all the essential components of a computer system, their purpose, and functions. Additional parts will also be discussed such as different cooling systems, graphics cards for gaming, and different peripheral options.

Students will build a computer in class using our demo machines. Additional class time may be scheduled individually with the instructor if a student is interested in building a custom computer. This additional time will allow the student and our teacher to design a custom computer for the student’s needs. Whether they’re working within a specific budget, or want to create the machine of their dreams, our teachers will help them design it and assist in guiding the student to build their computer.

Camp dates include:

July 13-17, 2020
July 27-31, 2020

To learn more and register, click here.


Game Design, Unity and Mixed Reality | Ages 9-14
Multiple dates, see below

The journey begins here for those who are interested in the exciting world of Computer Game Design. Students will learn the fundamentals of game design, rules, and game mechanics, with hands-on experience using the powerful game engine tool Unity. They will learn to build their own simple game in Unity, while also exploring and experimenting with the powerful tools that Unity provides game developers, for more complex 3D games. This class will also provide an introduction to Mixed Reality: Students will experience various AR/VR systems, and learn what it takes to make the games of the future. Take an insider’s look at the Computer Game Design industry, learning about the roles of producer, programmer, designer, and artist, and see how art and programming come together in games. As a bonus, our instructors will present their own games, and talk to students about their own experiences in launching their own business, and the exciting world of indie games and tech start-ups

Camp dates include:

July 6-10, 2020
July 20-24, 2020
July 27-31, 2020
Aug 3-7, 2020

To learn more and register, click here.


After Effects: Art in Motion! | Ages 12-18
Multiple dates, see below

Learn to use Adobe After Effects, the leading tool for video compositing, motion graphics design, and digital animation. You will learn to navigate the software and its features, including keyframesq, color correcting, layers, masking, creating particles, and lighting effects. Students will create a short video in class, and then learn to apply spectacular special effects, limited only by their imagination — clone or teleport yourself, morph yourself into an animal, recreate wizard duel and lightsabers, even safely play with fire!

Camp dates include:

July 6-10, 2020
Aug 3-7, 2020

To learn more and register, click here.


CONNECT

Call:
(703) 993-7101

Click:
Website

Engage:
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


LOCATION

Address:
George Mason University, Fairfax Campus (Map)

County:
Fairfax County


MAP


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