by Benny M.
As the TSA state conference approaches, TSA members continue to polish their projects, which will compete in various categories. There are more state-level competitors at MRHS this year than any in the past, and the lineup includes previous state champions.
For those who are unfamiliar with TSA (Technology Student Association), it’s an afterschool club for students to learn, practice, and in some cases compete in various categories. It’s run by Mr Hock in the tech classroom C140 after school on Wednesdays. Members can choose whether they want to compete or just have fun in the club.
Students who choose to compete do so in multiple categories. This year’s teams range from Audio Podcasting to Silent Film to Children’s Book Design, as well as anything in between. Students use whatever resources they need to create submissions or projects, either submitting online before the conference, or displaying their creation in person at the event. Here are just some of the projects:
Captained by senior Sierra E, the Animatronic Design team has been building an awesome bot since late September. Their prompt and theme was to design a robot which could be in a history of space museum, so the Animatronic Design team chose to replicate the Curiosity Rover. “We’re just replicating it in a smaller model which doesn’t have the same functionality, but the same visuals,” Sierra explains, “it’s a visual match.” The incredible rover arm was carefully designed and constructed over the last four months, and is made of many 3D printed parts.
Using Arduino IDE (basically a miniature computer) and some motors, it’s been programmed to be able to move around in many ways. While their arm isn’t as heavy as a full-sized Mars rover, weight balance was still an issue for the team: “While Arduino is pretty flexible with what you could do, the motors we got were very bad at carrying weight so we had to make everything lighter.”
Video Game Design:
Another team that will be competing is the Video Game Design team, consisting of juniors Nolan B and Isaiah A. Their action-adventure single player fantasy game, Cosmic Symphony, was developed in Godot and has taken five months of hard work to create. In it, one of the three choosable heroes must go on an adventure to save the world from the evil King Desolate, who despises color.
As with any game development, there were challenges and obstacles in the way. Junior Isaiah A, who co- developed the game, explained some of the difficulties: “With the engine that we used, there wasn't a way to use two separate devices working on the same project.” This made it so that they could have “only one person working on the main project at a time, the other would work on something else.” Only one person at a time meant they had to transfer new data, risking file corruption and major setbacks. “Thankfully, it only happened a few times and we were able to get through it, so it was all good.”
That’s not all, folks:
There are many other categories and projects this year. As almost every competitor is in multiple categories, it would be redundant to name full teams, So here’s just some of the teams with only the names of captains:
● Sophomore Andrew P, who took first place last year in game design, will be competing in the same category again this year. In his new game Stranded OverSeas (SOS), you are “stranded on a deserted island and must collect stones to signal for help.”
● Senior Lucas M will be captaining a Theatrical Set Design team, new for the school this year. They will be constructing a scaled-down set for a play or musical of their choosing. Senior Sky K will also be captaining a team in this category.
● Freshman Landon D will be captaining one of the Music Production teams, with the second team being captained by junior Jacob N. If they win, their original song will be played at the award ceremony.
Competitors will head to the State Conference in Denver during mid-February.