North Vancouver School District
the natural place to learn©
Mar 14
​Digital Media Academy students pitch game designs to EA Sports

By Jennifer VanderMye, Digital Media Academy Assistant and Murray Bulger, Teacher

Over the past few months, Digital Media Academy (DMA) students have been hard at work learning video game design and development alongside receiving mentorship from industry professionals. DMA emphasizes partnerships with a wide variety of industries to provide a meaningful and collaborative environment for student learning. Is integral to the success of DMA students where they are offered pivotal guidance and feedback from real-world situations. This is evident in the recent opportunity where three Grade 12 DMA students had the privilege of pitching their game designs and share ideas with representatives from EA Sports and designers from The Sims. 

Isabella Spies has been programming since she was in elementary school and has even gone back and taught programming to younger kids. In her online pitch to EA and The Sims team, Izzy presented a game she programmed in C# using the game engine, Unity. Designed for younger audiences, the game encourages players to deploy a personal organization tool and rewards them with options to build their own living space and to choose unique furniture and accessories. She asked The Sims team insightful questions on model design and programming, and they in turn were very impressed with Izzy’s penchant for self-directed learning and ability to extend her skills beyond the fundamentals to evolve her project to a high level.

“It was an amazing experience, and I am incredibly grateful to feel so welcomed and encouraged by those I met from EA.” Izzy says, reflecting on the experience. “I have renewed excitement in pursuing video game design as a career.”

A students shares the screen of a video game they made while on a Zoom presentation.

Grade 12 students Will Hargrave-Pawson and Adam Crockford, and Grade 11 student Callum Skinner worked together as a class team developing a horror inspired 3D game in Unreal Engine. Will developed the key 3D objects, Adam spent most of his time on the programming and environmental design and Callum created graphic design elements. Will and Adam visited the EA campus in Burnaby and presented their game to an audience of EA professionals where they were provided feedback. As a team, these students were truly able to push their learning to a high level in video game design and development.


“An amazing moment was to see the wide variety of roles from all the people in the room,” said Will reflecting on their pitch. “And realizing how Adam, Callum and I managed to fill those roles ourselves.”

Adam shared a similar sentiment. “Standing up in front of many industry professionals, suited up, presenting something that we were very proud of was such a great experience. They were all very supportive and impressed that we each played every roll across the development journey. We look forward to showing them what we create next.”

Izzy, Will and Adam were exemplary professionals and performed their pitches spectacularly.


This amazing experience could not have been possible without the mentorship from DMA teachers Murray Bulger and Chris Miller, as well as the professional game industry contacts we have at the DMA. We would like to thank Jay Bulbrook, EA Sports NHL Animation Director, as well as DMA alumnus Kiana Delsouz, FIFA Environmental Artist, who took time to mentor these students to help them prepare for their game presentations.  We would also like to extend our thanks to Trustee Kulvir Mann, for taking the time out of her day to join Will and Adam during their pitch at the EA office.


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