Leeds student takes 'gaming' to another level

Published: Dec. 4, 2012

Leeds School of Business student Zhenghua Yang and a team of programmers, artists and game designers melded their passion for video games into Serenity Forge, an independent video game developing company.

Surprisingly, the Boulder based company was created in 2008 while the founders were still in high school, said Yang. Now, team members work remotely, reporting to Yang, who is the head programmer, from establishments around the country such as Stanford University and St. Olaf College.

Yang explained the company’s philosophy is about making video games with complexity. “There’s more to it than just mindless playing,” said Yang. “There is an art to it.”

But Serenity Forge isn’t Yang’s first go at technology based activities. “I built my first computer at 6 and I built my first game at 10,” said Yang. With two electrical engineers as parents, you might say it runs in the family, he added jokingly.

Despite Yang’s obvious knack for video game development, it isn’t the only activity he is interested in. “This is a hobby, I’m a finance major and a math guy as well,” he said.

Currently in his junior year in the Leeds School, Yang also is involved in CoLab—a freshman orientation for the business school—and holds a position as the Vice President of Finance on the Leeds Council where he works with deans to budget student funds. He also moonlights as the business school’s Excel specialist.

Of his plans for after school, Yang asserted that he will continue to work with gamers as a hobby and that he would love to start a fund for independent gamers who want to pursue a career in video game development.

For students who are interested in starting a company like Serenity Forge or who are interested in the video game developing industry, Yang offered some advice.

“It’s not impossible," he said. "For people our age, there’s no such thing as too much risk. Sit down and think about what you want and how you’re going to do it.”

Keep an eye out for more from Serenity Forge in the coming months, as the team finishes up projects including an app for the iPhone and a new “virtual reality experience” that works with new headset technology that employs gyroscope—the device that registers movement in the Nintendo Wii game controllers.

To learn more about the company, visit http://www.serenityforge.com/games/.