As a dedicated long-time member of his school’s marching band, 17-year-old Connor Shugg of Apex, North Carolina didn’t need to look far in order to find the inspiration for his original video game design. Inspired by his extensive training as a trumpeter, Connor’s music-themed game Allegria won the High School Open Platform category of the 2016 National STEM Video Game Challenge. In Allegria, players defend the kingdom from an encroaching evil empire, combining musical notes in combat to damage the opponent.
When he’s not developing games or performing with the marching band, Connor enjoys playing role playing video games like Lord of the Rings Online, The Elder Scrolls, and Undertale. After high school he plans to study computer science, and ultimately work at a video game design company or Google. From his experience designing Allegria, Connor has two major pieces of advice for aspiring designers. “If you really want to improve your developing skills, sit yourself down whenever you can and practice each aspect of game developing,” he suggests. “That means drawing sprites and animations, mastering a programming language, composing the music, creating an interesting plot, and more.” He also encourages other designers to stay motivated, even when the work feels tedious. “Just remind yourself—if you never finish the job, nobody will ever see it.”