Compputer Science (Games), Class of 2021
San Antonio, Texas
Hey everyone! My name is Zach and I'm a junior studying Computer Science (Games) from San Antonio, Texas. I'm a game developer with a focus on Virtual and Augmented Reality technology and have worked on a variety of projects in that space. I also run the XR development club on campus, XRSC. Currently, I'm developing Detour Bus, an absurd VR path-builidng game and am pursuing funding through the Oculus Launch Pad developer program. This semester I'm continuing my internship as a game developer at Funktronic Labs, a small indie game studio in Pasadena. My creative passions also extend outside games, I'm an active member of the gender inclusive professional cinematic arts fraternity Delta Kappa Alpha and am also a part time DJ.
Check out what I have been up to in my recent blog posts!
"take your job seriously, but don't take yourself too seriously"
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More About Me
I’m a DJ at the student radio station and can also do events, I’ve been asked to do a few sets from time to time. I really love it as it’s a way to pursue music that’s low commitment and tons of fun.
I’m an active member of Delta Kappa Alpha, a gender-inclusive professional cinematic arts fraternity. It gives me a way to connect and meet people with different cinematic interests of my own and be a part of a creative community outside the people I know through my major.
I’m the president of XRSC, USC’s VR/AR community and development organization. My job is to connect students interested in XR to each other and to the industry. It gives me a great way to meet everyone working in the same field as me on campus and gather connections to the industry.
I’m currently an intern at Funktronic Labs, an indie game studio located in Pasadena. My current work is a secret right now but I can say that it is hard work but also a ton of fun and very rewarding. The screenshot above is from a game I got to do a little bit of work on called Fujii.
Projects I've Worked On
Detour Bus is my current VR project. I’m the co-creator with a friend of mine and through an Oculus developer program are seeking funding to turn the game from a small student project to a game that will do well on its own. This my first long term project I’ve been a creative lead on and am very excited to see where it goes.
Ollie is a VR 3D animation tool for beginners. I was one of two engineers on the project and learned so much from my time on the team. While it wasn’t a game, a lot of the concepts I learned transfer over to game programming well. We showed Ollie at tons of different places including SIGGRAPH, DICE LA, and Two Bit Circus. It’s available on the Oculus store now, to learn more check out ollievr.com
Gunflinger is a small wave shooter made in 48 hours about a cowboy who can’t hold onto his guns. Me and a friend submitted this game as part of a 48 hour competition and placed #35 from over 2000 submissions.
Fujii is a game I worked on through my internship at Funktronic Labs. While I got there when the game was already done, I was able to run some updates on the game after it was released, adding highly requested features in an early patch of the game. Play it on Steam and Oculus stores now!
My Major: Computer Science (Games)
Why CS Games?
My sophomore year of high school I took my first Computer Science class and enjoyed it quite a bit. I got involved with programming at my high school and ended up trying to make my first game my junior year of high school using Unity. Even though the game was a flop and didn't work, I still had a ton of fun and started looking into places where I could pursue games. CS Games stuck out as a program that would allow me pursue games while still getting a regular Computer Science education.
Passions in Games
Untitled Goose Game (2019) by House House is a masterpiece and should be played by everyone.
Grim Fandango is a comedy adventure point & click game, and holds up extremely well despite being pretty old.
Disco Elysium is one of the best RPGs I’ve ever played. It’s thoughtful, fun, and has some of my favorite writing in a game of its type.
Accounting+ is one of the VR games that inspired me to pursue the field. It’s hilarious and has a ton of small unique interactions that drive the experience.
Fallout New Vegas is the best modern Fallout entry. No I will not be taking questions at this time.
Passion in the Classroom
My Favorite Courses
This class will take you from someone who kind of knows how games are made, to someone who really understands how games are made. In this class you learn all the low level systems that make up game engines and how to make them run quickly. This class is essential as it teaches you everything going on behind the scenes in game engines from math libraries to graphics and skeletal animation. Even if you don’t become an engine programmer, taking this class helps game programmers understand why game engines do what they do, and will give you the background to hop into any new technology in a quickly changing field. Without this class I would have been horribly unprepared for my internship after my Sopohomore year.