Meet the Winners: Lucas Armand and Shrey Pandya
The dynamic developing duo is at it again! In 2016, 14-year-old Lucas Armand of Malvern, Pennsylvania and 14-year-old Shrey Pandya of Exton, Pennsylvania wowed STEM Challenge judges with their science-themed game, Outbreak: Cellular Warfare, winning them the Nat Geo Explore Middle School Playable Game title. This year, the teammates took home their second National STEM Video Game Challenge victory, earning the Team Middle School Open Platform award for their latest design, Mainframe. With a narrative that follows the evolution of computers over recent decades, their real-time strategy game asks players to build, research, manage resources, and complete tasks.
“I got my start in game development by googling, ‘how to make a game,’ and found tons of great tutorials, resources, and tools along the way,” says Shrey. “Don’t be afraid to use the internet to learn and find solutions.” Both winners got an early start in game design, and by third grade were experimenting with tools like GameMaker. Lucas echoes the importance experimentation and iteration when learning about the process. “One of the most helpful tools for making a game is experience,” he explains. “Keep making games, regardless of whether they’re good or bad, and eventually it will become second nature.”
In the future, Shrey and Lucas plan to continue working in the tech space, with Shrey planning to study computer science. “I’ll probably do something with software,” says Lucas, “Or maybe virtual reality if it ever takes off.”