PhD student Chris DeLeon was named as a 2013 Foley Scholar by the GVU Center on October 30th at the Foley Scholars Award Dinner, sponsored by Microsoft Research. This program is the GVU’s highest award for student excellence.
DeLeon and seven others were named as Foley Scholar finalists at the beginning of the semester for their outstanding research contributions. The finalists were selected due to their innovative research and efforts in shaping technology for a broad range of challenges in modern society.
DeLeon’s current research is focused on the difference between game design for digital games as compared to non-digital games, with an emphasis on how those differences may affect educational practices and professional discourse. His goal is to help more people get a handle on creating their own videogames in a way that better explores the affordances of the medium.
In his mission to teach more people how to create video games, DeLeon has made lasting impacts at Georgia Tech. When he first arrived at Georgia Tech in the fall of 2010, he founded VGDev, a videogame development club where students work together in small teams to create fully finished games over the course of a semester. After mentoring and shaping the club, DeLeon has since passed the club into the hands of new officers, giving others the chance to develop their skills of managing videogame projects. Since its inception, VGDev has had 113 student developers work on a total of 30 finished games.
Within the Digital Media department, DeLeon serves as the programming TA for both of the first semester required courses in Digital Media. During their lab hours, students learn how to make projects and prototypes using Processing, a Java environment, and web programming platforms. This year, DeLeon has begun recording supplemental lab videos that students can watch and review in their own time in order to help them get a better handle on the material they’re being taught in lab. Those videos are available on the Digital Media’s YouTube channel.
DeLeon’s passion for teaching videogame programming extends beyond Georgia Tech. His website HobbyGameDev.com discusses various videogame developer tips and issues, often complete with sample source code or videos. DeLeon has been running this website since 2009, and the audience has grown to over 11,000 monthly readers.