Alumni Spotlight: Ramon Miland

Brianna Battles
Class of 2023

Sometimes an idea for a video game just pops into your head. More often, though, it can roll around in there for quite a while and needs to bounce off someone else before it makes sense.

“I had an idea for some sort of movement mechanics where you kind of launch yourself around,” says Ramon Miland (Central Catholic ’23) a freshman studying Game Design and Computer Science at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). “A teammate pitched the idea of a ‘dungeon-crawler,’ and suggested we put the two together. That’s a neat idea! I said, ‘What if we made it like a bowling alley…from hell?’”

That’s where “Unholy Roller” came from, designed for Miland’s “Game Development and Algorithmic Problem Solving II” class. They couldn’t use pre-built gaming engines so it involved a lot of time-consuming coding.

Getting into one of the world’s top tech schools wasn’t easy, and required rolling right into AP Computer Science and Calculus in high school. “I said to myself, ‘I want to make a game with the coding language that we're learning,’” recalls Miland. “And from there, I just looked at the YouTube tutorial and I just started immediately. Over senior year, I worked on three different games.”

Crossroads helped supply extra motivation when needed.

"Crossroads lit a fire under me,” says Miland. “Even as early as sophomore year, when I did the SPICE program – where I did the CMU Computer Science Scholars. That put me ahead a little bit with coding. So, I’d say that Crossroads has inspired me to be a little bit fearless.”

Game design is multidisciplinary, and you have to have some knowledge of a lot of different skill sets. That’s really what attracts him to it. “In games, I do coding, I make music (I made the music for our game), I draw, I like to write stories,” says Miland. “What’s most satisfying for me is the process of building something. I even liked doing extra research into bowling to help create this game.”

It's a good idea to have other outlets too, notes Miland. "I also do martial arts tricking, which is a lot of twists and flips and stuff. I'm part of the gymnastics club at RIT," he says.

If you’re thinking about pursuing this path, the best thing to do is start right now.

“Find something that you're interested in, that you want to get better at,” says Miland. “And just, like, look up a YouTube tutorial or find a simple way to start getting into it.”