"Programming is the Closest Thing We Have to Magic"
Echolocation isn’t a big feature in video games.
That’s why it’s a little bit genius.
“In video games, stagnation is death,” says Alex Shinsel ’16.
The computer science major keeps a list of ideas that pop into her head in the morning.
“If you ever get random ideas, jot them down!” she advises.
Her senior project, a Windows-based game called Echolocation, was one such idea.
The character of the game is a bat, flying through a rapidly changing landscape, trying to avoid obstacles and catch bugs. Only, it’s dark. Shinsel uses light to mimic echolocation, so when the bat sends out a sound, the scene lights up briefly.
Also an artist, Shinsel has hand drawn the scenes and uses DirectX for the graphics.
“It’s a complicated, but effective graphics platform. It’s more difficult for the programmer, but it gives you a lot of freedom,” she said.
That’s the beauty of computer science, she said.
“Programming is the closest thing we have to magic,” she said. “In a fantasy story, with the right runes, a wizard can do anything. With the right codes, a programmer can do anything.”