Press to Play: Freddy takes Flight

“Freddy Takes Flight,” an 8-bit, side-scrolling platformer game created by the TPHS App Coders/Designers Club.

Jump into “Freddy Takes Flight,” a “Mega Man”-esque 8-bit side-scrolling platformer video game where the player goes on an adventure as the TPHS mascot, Freddy the Falcon. Produced by several members of the App Coders/Designers Club, the seven-month project spread its wings for the first time as a game demo at the Career Technical Education showcase, a district event displaying the work of various CTE classes on campus, on April 17. 

The game, which is still under development, consists of five planned levels — the first three were available to play at the CTE showcase. Starting at Level 1, players familiarize themselves with the game mechanics; at Level 2, players fight off enemies such as disembodied eyeballs and vampires; Level 3 takes place in the underworld, where players defeat enemy demons and hellhounds; once the player reaches Level 5,  they face off against the final boss, a raven. 

The inspiration for the project came from Aaron Nayki (10), AC/DC president and game director. 

“Originally, [AC/DC] thought of doing something where [we were] going to connect all the [school] clubs together and have a big website for them to use to just talk about their club and how they can get members and such,” Nayki said. “And then the pep rally happened, and I was like, ‘You know what, why don’t we just use Freddy the Falcon’… and my friend Keshav was playing the original Super Mario video game … [and] I was thinking to myself, ‘Why don’t we just connect Freddy the Falcon to [make] something fun, something interactive, something people can be entertained by?’”

The production team began working in December 2023 as Nico Koundakjian (12), the club’s head of code, began the project’s code as its sole contributor using the engine GoDot. After the completion of the first level, the team discovered GitHub Desktop, which allowed for multiple people to collaborate code, speeding up the process, according to Koundakjian. Koundakjian, alongside his fellow coders, had zero prior experience with the engine’s built-in language, GDScript.

“At the start, I knew absolutely nothing. I was working on coding, but it was an entirely new language because the engine we were using is not really similar to much we have learned from [previous] work,” Jervis Fernandez (10), the team’s co-head of design, said.

Despite the initial learning curve, the staff found a way to achieve their goals.

“I liked how I could not only watch videos on how to learn things, but also collaborate with others who are also learning new things. I just progressively learned more and more until now I can [code in GoDot] pretty well,” Fernandez said.

Kheshav Bhaskar (10), a co-head of design alongside Fernandez, used the website Piskel to design sprites, the visual assets, for the game without any prior design experience.

“After I started doing it, I got more and more interested in it, and now I’d say that I’m a lot better than when I started,” said Bhaskar. “If I had a choice between doing more art for the game from now on or doing more programming, I would 100% say more art.”

Jayden Linney (12), the project’s music director, used FL Studio and royalty free music to design the soundtrack. 

“I just thought it’d be really fun to create an idea in your own head and be able to manifest it with a group to put [any form of entertainment] out into the world. That’s why I took up the music designing, because I enjoyed fiddling around with music to try to make something creative and have other people enjoy popularizing it,” Linney said.

With all these pieces in place ready to be synthesized, the presentation of their work arrived. Several computers in Room 702 were set up with the video game ready to be played by ongoers of the CTE showcase.

“I was kind of nervous about [the showcase]. But as we got more people coming in and talking about how they enjoy the game and seeing people actually have fun playing the game, it was comforting to know that what we did and what we accomplished was actually beneficial and had some impact,” Fernandez said.

Richard Robinette, the Systems Programming pathway teacher and AC/DC adviser, found their success to be “cool” since some of the students who worked on the project had done a similar assignment in computer programming the year prior.

“Honestly, I didn’t know [in the beginning if it would be successful] because I’ve had projects like that startup 100,000 times, and they most often just turn into nothing. I think there’s been around 20 [independent student projects] over the years, and this is the second one that actually became something,” said Robinette. 

According to Nayki, the game is set to be completed by mid-to-late-summer, and will be published for free as open source on the website The club also plans to put their game on display as part of next year’s Club Rush, as well as looking into promotion via the SDUHSD board.

Previous post Girls beach volleyball heads to the CIF finals
Next post Snapshots of a season: a look at TPHS spring sports