Students Create Immersive Games During Virtual Reality Camp at UA Little Rock

UA Little Rock students lead Arkansas students in a virtual reality summer camp.

About a dozen junior high and high school students spent a week learning how to create immersive games and virtual reality content for Meta during a virtual reality summer camp held Aug. 1-5 at UA Little Rock.

Students learned how to create immersive games for the Meta Quest and Meta Quest 2 using the program, Unity, in the Emerging Analytics Center at UA Little Rock. At the end of the camp, students are set up with developer accounts if they want to continue to create games and other virtual reality content for Meta.

Camp participants included Granger Colclasure, an 8th grader at Episcopal Collegiate; Lucas Campbell, an 8th grader at Episcopal Collegiate; Cohen Harris, a 7th grader at Robinson Middle School; Isaiah Johnson, a 9th grader at Jacksonville High School; Delores Meadows, a 9th grader at Jacksonville High School; Samuel Reyes, an 8th grader at Our Lady of the Holy Souls School; Caiden Ross, a 7th grader at Mabelvale Middle School; Aiden Team, a 10th grader at eStem Charter High School; Tripp Sanders, an 8th grader at Our Lady of the Holy Souls School; James Skaletski, a high school student from Germany; and Cedric Wade Jr. a 9th grader at Bryant Junior High School.

James Skaletski, a rising 12th grader in Germany, took the camp while he was visiting family in Arkansas.

“I think the camp is really cool,” Skaletski said. “We are learning to make games and implement them into virtual reality. You can create any game you can think of and then play it. For a career, I want to become a video editor, so some of the skills I’m learning in camp are similar to that and will be helpful in the future.”

Philip Bryan, a graduate student in computer science, said students learned how to use the Unity program to create immersive games for the Meta Quest or Meta Quest 2.

“Unity is a useful program to make games and fun tools,” Bryan said. “It’s a really useful skill to have. I hope the students keep involved in computer science. There are a lot of styles of games they create so I hope they keep using Unity. We also set them up with a developer account for the Meta in case they want to continue to develop games.”

UA Little Rock students and researchers in the Emerging Analytics Center led the summer camp. They include Phillip Bryan, Parikshya Bhandari, Wesley Ferguson, Colin McNerny, Cecily (Danica) Mobley, Carlos Ochoa, Adam Perry, and Kimari Watson.

Middle and high school students creating immersive games for the Meta Quest Virtual reality platform during a VR camp for youth at UA Little Rock.

Middle and high school students created immersive games for the Meta Quest Virtual reality platform during a VR camp for youth at UA Little Rock. Photo by Ben Krain.

This is the second year for the virtual reality camp. Sandra Leiterman, managing director of the Cyber Arena, said she came up with the idea for the camp last year when she heard kids talking about the types of virtual reality games they wanted to play.

“I thought it would be a great idea if we taught students how to build the games that they really want to play,” Leiterman said. “I hope that the kids will take home the confidence that they can create and that they can have a career building games that they and others will enjoy. Of course, in the long term, I hope that they come back to UA Little Rock as computer science majors who work at the Emerging Analytics Center!”

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