Building a new reality: Dashel Heidt ventures into video game development Building a new reality: Dashel Heidt ventures into video game development
BY SABRINE BRISMEUR Don’t be surprised when Dashiel Heidt shows up in the credits of the next biggest video game series – the CCHS... Building a new reality: Dashel Heidt ventures into video game development

BY SABRINE BRISMEUR

Don’t be surprised when Dashiel Heidt shows up in the credits of the next biggest video game series – the CCHS senior is already making strides towards revolutionizing the electronic entertainment sector.

Known around campus for his technological savviness and big-hearted inclination to help students around him, Heidt’s love for the future extends to several aspects of his academic, extracurricular and social life. His interest in video games was piqued at only five years old, when he was gifted a now-cherished copy of “SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom.” But it was Star Wars video games that truly nudged Heidt into the video game world.

Today, Heidt has been a recruiter for Frontwire Studios, an independent game studio, for two years. His role for the studio is essential: Heidt scours the internet looking for the portfolios of promising young video game developers, designers, programmers, writers, musicians and artists, among others. After working with Frontwire Studios as an intern, he was promoted to an official member and recruiter when he successfully recruited a developer that stayed with the studio.

“If I believe they fit the quality and aesthetic of the video game we’re looking for, I’ll reach out to them,” Heidt said. “For example, if I’m looking at someone’s concept art, and it contains a style that we think fits our game – or if I look at a 3D model and it looks very high-quality and like they can create cool aliens and stuff.”

Heidt’s end goal is simple: convince them to join the studio in developing their newest project, in this case, the cyberpunk “Galaxy in Turmoil.”

“[It’s] third person shooter, but the player can seamlessly transition from ground combat to space combat and vice versa,” Heidt said. “[It’s] inspired by the cancelled Star Wars Battlefront 3 and Warhawk for the flight controls.”

The game has run into several obstacles as of late, one of which includes increased resistance towards crowdfunding. Donors, wary of once again contributing money to the development of a disappointing video game which looked favorable in a demo, have strayed away from supporting such initiatives. But Heidt and Frontwire Studios have already begun looking for potential solutions.

“For most crowdfunding campaigns, [the studios] would release a concept that you can’t really judge for its quality, except for how cool it looks,” he said. “So what we’re doing is creating a playable demo to be released prior to our campaign, so people have something tangible to judge it by and something that can be representative of our final product.”

In AP Research, he surveyed employees at game studios for nearly a full school year to analyze “the impact of differing means of project management in independent video game development,” that culminated in a 32-page research paper.

Heidt’s love for video games permeates several aspects of his life, including his academics. Beyond a hobby and a job, Heidt made technology a central focus of one of his CCHS classes when he enrolled in AP Capstone: Research as a junior and Robotics I as a senior.

In AP Research, he surveyed employees at game studios for nearly a full school year to analyze “the impact of differing means of project management in independent video game development,” that culminated in a 32-page research paper.

Senior Bailey Kraus, who was in the small research class with Heidt, said that Heidt was not only invested in his own paper, but in those of his peers as well.

“Dashiel was very dedicated to his project and seemed to truly enjoy conducting his research,” Kraus said. “While interacting with his peers, Dashiel was always very curious as to how others were going about their research, and he would share how he went about his own and provided tips to those who needed them.”

While Heidt isn’t looking towards the video game industry as a main career – instead, he’s intending on focusing on machine learning – it’s clear that its influence will continue to impact his future.

Photo by The Lariat photography