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2016 DreamQuest Academy Program Overview

DreamQuest Academy offers innovative programs for kids and teens ages 7 to 16 in the Denver and Boulder metro area. We offer STEM-based afterschool programs at both public and private schools, game jam events, and summer camps – all teaching kids engineering and social skills through building videogames.

We leverage our students’ existing passions for videogames to teach them how to code in a fun and creative way: first they learn how to code mods in Minecraft, and then the fundamentals of game design and coding by creating their own unique RPG, FPS, Platformer, 2D, or VR adventure games in Unity, a leading commercial game development engine. Our classes fill a much needed gap between existing elementary school CSed teaching tools like Scratch, Hopscotch, Bitsbox, or Agentsheets, and high school or college courses teaching AP Computer Science, Java, or other career-oriented programming courses.

DreamQuest Academy is very unique in that it grew out of DreamQuest Games, a commercially successful game development studio with over 50 titles shipped for PC, game consoles, and mobile apps over the past 15 years. Our experienced developers now inspire and expose these kids to the very real career possibilities that coding can provide. We motivate youth to challenge themselves by learning new skills, and promote the rewards of being a producer rather than just a consumer of the videogame medium they love. Our uniquely engaging and creative programs are ideal to expose technology and engineering to those with limited access, build proficiency and confidence in themselves, and open their minds to the possibility of a career in Computer Science and Engineering.

FLASH SALE: Feelin’ Lucky?

QuestieLuckIrishSale

Do you think you have the luck of the Irish?

Here at DreamQuest Academy, FUN is our motto and what better way to have fun this St. Patrick’s Day than to test your luck? Join our FLASH SALE and get a limited time offer discount on all of our summer camp classes! Sign up for our summer camps on or before Thursday March 17, 2016 for a chance to win a discount of either 10%, 20%, 30% or even 40%!

Coupon Code: LUCKY10-40

These discounts are totally random, so find a four leaf clover and pray for good luck because you never know what you might win! Head on over to our website and register before our offer ends. Hurry, this is a rare chance to get up to 40% off on any or ALL of our summer offerings!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

*Only one coupon code per order. Minimum discount of 10% and maximum of 40%. At checkout, coupon code will reveal a 10% discount. If you win the 20%, 30% or 40%, the difference would be refunded to you by the 20th of March, 2016.

DQ Academy Seeking Passionate Volunteers and Staff


Do you have the CREATIVE PASSION and SKILLS to INSPIRE the next generation of game designers?

What DreamQuest can offer you:

  • Flexible work schedule (ideal for parents or students)
  • Fun and fulfilling work inspiring kids and serving the community
  • Gamedev training from industry pros and access to our network
  • Competitive pay: $12-$20/hour

What DreamQuest is looking for:

  • Solid writing and communication skills
  • Passion for education and/or gaming, teaching experience ideal
  • Technical skills in Unity, Adobe Photoshop, Premiere, WordPress, etc.

Currently seeking ambitious:

  • Instructors and Camp TAs (internships available!)
  • Game Designers, Programmers, and Producers
  • Illustrators, Modelers, Riggers, and Animators
  • Videographers, Editors, and Sound Engineers
  • Social Media, SEO, and Community Outreach
  • Web Marketers and Graphic Designers

To apply, please click here and fill out our application form!

2016 Summer Camp Registration Now Open!


We have a new look, are now officially a 501c3 charity, are offering a whole bunch of new game coding classes, and several new locations! Our class sizes are still limited so make sure to signup soon especially for some of the really unique intensive classes before they close out.

As in past summers, kids 7-16 will get to team up with other kids to build their own videogame and learn valuable coding skills with the help of our industry game developer instructors. Signups have started for all our camps, including 1-week intro classes starting May 30th and 2-week Genre and Skill Intensives courses starting June 6th.

More camps at a lower cost

We’re super excited to announce that we have dramatically increased the selection of camps offered this year, and are now splitting our days into separate AM and PM camps. This, in combination, with our updated tighter curriculum and better teaching methods allow the kids to build more impressive games in less time and allow us to bring the costs down and allow kids more flexibility when pairing with other camp offerings they might be considering.

2 Intro 1-week Camps (1 new!)

We have two introductory 1-week camp offerings this year:

  1. Intro to Coding with Minecraft Mods – NEW!
  2. Unity Game Coding FUNdamentals 

 

IntroMinecraftClassPhoto

Love Minecraft? Learn how to create your own blocks, textures, effects, and even program recipes! Use the Hopscotch-like visual editor and learn Java and Javascript coding as you create!

 

FUNdamentalsClassPhoto

Start your journey to becoming a game developer here! Build a game with your friends and learn the FUNdamental skills of using Unity, game development software used by the pros.

 

8 New Intensive 2-week Camps

We now have multiple intensive 2-week camp programs so your kid can develop a game in the specific game genres they love:

  1. Unity Genre Intensive: 3D FPS
  2. Unity Genre Intensive: 3D RPG
  3. Unity Skill Intensive: Character Animation
  4. Unity Skill Intensive: Explosions + FX
  5. Unity Genre Intensive: 2D + 3D Platformer
  6. Unity Genre Intensive: 2D Retro
  7. Unity Skill Intensive: VR Adventures
  8. Unity Skill Intensive: Mobile Apps

 

 

2 New Locations in Arvada and Denver

In addition to our past locations in NE Boulder/Gunbarrel at Karliquin’s Game Knight and our locations in Lafayette, we are also now offering two new locations this year, one in Arvada + Westminster at Adventurer’s Quarter game shop and another in Denver + Cherry Creek at Wizard’s Chest.  Who wouldn’t want to come build a videogame in a giant castle? We are exploring a location in Longmont, please email  fun@dreamquest.org if you would be interested in a Longmont location!

We have created a handy grid on the Parents page which shows you which locations have which class offerings on which dates.

Save $50 if you register by March 20th

It’s going to be a fun-filled summer, so register before March 20th, 2016 using discount code EARLYBIRD to get a $50 discount on our summer camps! For any questions about our camps, check out our FAQ at dreamquest.org/contact, or contact us at 720-FUN-0123 or fun@dreamquest.org

Our Nonprofit Mission

DreamQuest Academy is a nonprofit school whose sole purpose is to inspire future engineers in our community through creative play. Our unique programs encourage kids away from the often isolated act of playing videogames by offering a fun and educational alternative through the collaborative social process of designing and coding a videogame as a team.

Our goal is to expose all kids to coding – which often means making an extra effort to attract girls, minorities, and low income kids who might otherwise not gain competency in STEM skills, confidence in the use of technology, or  even consider a future career in engineering.

FUNdamentals of Game Design Week 1

Week 1 of our new FUNdamentals of Game Design class is in the bag! Our instructors, Jacob (jacob@dreamquest.org) and Casey (casey@dreamquest.org) were delighted to see so many students excited to learn game development in Unity. Here’s a quick rundown of what we accomplished in week 1, and what students can look forward to in week 2.

Week 1 Wrap-Up

We kicked off our first week with introductions and class rules, followed by a video showing off what developers are creating in Unity as showcased at the 2015 GDC (Game Developers Conference). Following this, students paired up and began copying the necessary files they will be using throughout the duration of the course. Instructors spent time 1-0n-1 helping students learn file management strategies and installing Unity3D. Students who were able to get up and running quickly helped their partners get set up before playing around a bit in our MarbleSandbox scene.  Starting in week 2 the students have some really fun things to learn about making an interesting game.

If parents or students have any questions or concerns about setting up Unity3D at home, don’t hesitate to contact one of the instructors and they’ll be glad to help!

Important Notice About a New Version of Unity

Unity has very recently released a new version of their software, 5.3.2. The installation files provided to the kids on the first day of class are for the previous version, 5.3.1f1. We don’t foresee this causing any issues with the digital assets we’ll be using, but just to be safe, if you see a message asking if you’d like to upgrade Unity to the newest version, we recommend selecting ‘no’ and waiting until the class is finished before upgrading. We’d like to keep as many students running the same version as possible so that there will be no issues with assets not working with the other version.

If your student already has the new version or has upgraded, don’t worry! Again, we don’t believe it will be an issue since it was a minor update, and if it ends up being an issue we will address it on a case-by-case basis to make sure everything runs smoothly.

Class Preparation

Our time in class is limited and we want to do as many fun and creative things as possible so, we appreciate your support reminding students to use the restroom prior to class if they need to! Instructors will of course make accommodations for students who need to use the facilities during class time, but if they can take care of their business beforehand then they will have that much more time to build in Unity during class time.

For those students bringing a personal laptop, it is extremely important going forward that they also bring a mouse! Working in Unity requires accuracy and speed, something a laptop’s trackpad cannot really provide, so using a mouse is ideal. Please make sure they bring one if possible. Instructors will have a loaner mouse or two on hand, but there may not be enough to go around if many students aren’t bringing their own.

After Class Pick-Up Time

Elementary School students will need their parents to sign them out at the end of each class. There will be a sign-out sheet available in the classroom. If students will be absent or will be walking or biking home, or if they have another engagement after our FUNdamentals class, and they will be going to by themselves, please contact the teachers or Lifelong Learning to let them know of that situation! It’s important to us that instructors and parents are on the same page regarding students arriving home safely.

If you have any questions about our sign-out policy, please don’t hesitate to ask. And, if our policy ends up changing regarding this, we will be sure to inform parents immediately and make a blog post here with any new information.

Week 2 Preview

Looking forward to next week, the students will be pairing up and learning about some of the basic and fundamental operations within Unity. We will make sure all our students are on the same page regarding how to extract the files they need, what files to open, where to find the assets they can play around with, and how to manipulate those objects in a Unity scene. The students will be working to make Bits of Awesome, by creating or changing something within our MarbleSandbox that impresses the class, or makes everybody laugh, or is just generally interesting! The instructors will choose some of these Bits of Awesome to distribute to everyone weekly with the new version of their class’s game, so the students can see each week how they’re impacting the game they’re working on. We’re all looking forward to seeing what the students can create to wow both the instructors and their friends!

Let’s all look forward to a fun and exciting week 2!