They got game

Modeling and Simulation students work on unique and impressive projects


photo by Sharika Khondaker

Junior Deborah Lu works on her character project for Modeling and Simulation II.

You might not think a periodic table is interesting. But if you could reach out and touch the elements, see the electronic geometry, and rearrange the configurations of the atoms, maybe you would. With virtual reality, you can, and these are the kinds of projects that advanced students in Modeling and Simulation work on.

The Modeling and Simulation class focuses on using programs such as Maya, Unity, and Unreal, and these programs are designed to help students develop 3D models and learn how to create simulations. Students watch tutorials on how to create different elements, and using that knowledge as a backbone, they create their models with additional features they decide to include.

Modeling and Simulation, taught by Jonah Hardy and Samuel Adorno, is one of the most popular courses offered, at the school. It is one of four programs of emphasis in Seminole County, and it is only offered at Hagerty. Not only do students receive an industry certification for completing the course, but it opens the door for creativity.

“I think it’s awesome that students who would not have a chance to go to Hagerty are able to go. It gives them a class that they can look forward to every year that they are familiar with, and it opens up the class so that it is not just an elective class,” Hardy said.

Program founder, Lindsey Spalding, left at the end of last year to earn her doctorate degree. Hardy took her place as the teacher for levels two, three and four, while Adorno covers level one.

“We still cover the things that Mrs. Spalding set up, such as getting ready for the field through business presentations,” senior Jacob Steinebronn said. “Now the focus is driven on the Modeling and Simulation part of the program and is more hands-on.”

As students move up through the different levels of the course, the topics they learn about are more focused every year. Level one introduces the aspects of Mod and Sim, level two is more focused on design and art while level three is based around game development. Level four implements all of the skills students have learned throughout the previous levels, and so it is a freelance year, where students get to create a senior project implementing the different aspects of Mod and Sim that they have learned about.

One of the new things Hardy implemented this year is the character project. Students create a character from scratch, based on a common theme, such as fantasy. They made a character concept board, canon cages, and facial expressions to see what their character would look like if it was actually created. Finally, they made a sculpture with a wire skeleton, adding clay to the top of it to make it look like the character.

“I like to draw and design, and this has been the only project that I can physically take home. I have never seen a Modeling and Simulation teacher allow us to do this before,” junior Mason Dettman said.

Hardy also took Spalding’s place as the sponsor for the Modeling and Simulation club, the Mod Squad, another place where students are able to get hands-on experience with the different software. Students split up into different groups to work on projects based on what they want to create. This quarter, some students are in the process of creating a racing game, animated shorts, and a tank simulator.

“The class is a stricter environment, where the problems that they are solving are more specific, whereas the club is meant to be more fun and relaxed. Students have more freedom in what they do, and sometimes we play games during the last half of the meetings,” Hardy said.