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Bel Air High grad develops video game at McDaniel College

GamingColleges and Universities

A typical college senior plays video games, he doesn't make them. Bel Air resident and soon-to-be McDaniel College graduate Seth Marple, however, did just that.

"The challenge is just being creative," Marple, 22, explained about his game. "Not win or lose."

This is also the challenge the student took on for his senior project when creating the computer game, World Craft.

Marple, a Bel Air High School alum, will graduate Saturday with a double bachelor's degree in English and computer science and a minor in writing. Before his big day, however, he was given the assignment to either create a web-based video game or program a robot.

The video game, Marple said, "just sounded like the most fun."

He based the game on a favorite of his, Minecraft.

"I like the general idea of that game," Marple said. "I tried to take it and adapt it to a web-based, not first person kind of game, so you could just play with it."

He explained that the "world" people are challenged with something similar to a Rubik's Cube, where the player can add or take away blocks.

Each block is an element or material: dirt, stone, sand, water, lava and coal.

"You generate a world and change whatever you want about it," Marple said. The player also has the option to start with nothing and go from there. "If you want to build a castle, lay stone blocks and build it up to make it look like a castle."

Since the player is only limited by his or her imagination, the student said the game is "only as fun as you make it."

Although Marple doesn't consider himself an avid gamer, Mine Craft is one that has appealed to him over the years and he thinks of it as one of his favorites.

The biggest challenge he had while programming the game, which he did all in html code, was creating 3D graphics on a 2D surface.

"Drawing a cube, perspective lines," he explained, "that was the most difficult thing." He got through it with a lot of trial and error.

"I would program something and go [into the game] and try it and see what it drew," Marple said. Based on what he saw, he knew he had to move code around and kept doing things over until he got it the way he wanted the game to be.

When he presented the project to his class a few weeks ago, Marple's classmates responded favorably and gave him positive feedback.

"They liked it," he said of the responses he got. "All the comments were good."

Marple earned an A on the project.

After graduation, Marple will be working as a software engineer associate with SI Organization in Laurel.

He feels this video game project may have contributed to him getting the job, since it showed he has coding and programming experience.

Marple hopes to continue with computer programming because, as he said, "I enjoy the problem solving."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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