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How a botany student is bringing his virtual dreams to life

Having a life-long love for all things video games, Kean Kane hopes to combine that passion with his love for botany, cultivating a career of creating fun and interactive educational opportunities for all ages. 

When he first stepped onto Purdue’s campus as a freshman, Kane, a senior triple majoring in plant sciences, game design and development and animation, wasn’t sure where he wanted his career to take him. 

“Game development was always in the back of my mind, but I didn’t talk about it very much,” he said. “When I was in Exploratory Studies, I wrote a paper about how I would like to make people happy through games, but my love for science lead me to selecting botany as a major instead.” 

But something felt like it was missing, which led Kane to discover the game design major in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute. 

“I’ve always loved games, and I have made little games throughout my life,” Kane said. “A lot of them were just hobbies that I didn’t publish online, but if I wasn’t making a game, I was playing one and being inspired.” 

With two older brothers who also enjoyed playing video games, Kane said he received a lot of their hand-me-down gaming consoles, but today he finds himself gravitating toward computer-based games. Despite ready access to trendy consoles, Kane said he found himself most inspired by browser games, or the retired Adobe Flash platform. His love for PC games lead to his creation of a pixel art game in the fall semester for a class project, while current classes allow him to explore more modern artwork for game creation. 

One of his game creation dreams is to combine his love for video games and botany to create visually exciting educational games, hoping to create a product that would inspire the next generation to explore the field of botany through the virtual world. 

“I keep a running Google document of video game ideas I have, and a good amount of them are educational,” he said. “One idea I have is where the player is a mycorrhizal fungus that is helping a tree. The tree would then grow on its own, and then you as the fungus would have to make certain chemicals and sugars and things to trade with the tree in order for it to grow, and the tree would be an A.I.” 

Kane said he would also love to pursue a career in environmental art design for games, modeling real life plants into video games for strikingly realistic accuracy.  

While he continues to fulfill the courses and lab work for all three majors, Kane said the opportunities that await him post-graduation keep his creative wheels turning, constantly thinking of new opportunities to tap into both of his loves: gaming and botany. 

“I am getting a lot of 3-D art experience in my classes now, so I am getting better at modeling real life objects and I’m able to start bringing my ideas to life,” he said. “Video games are just something that make a lot of people happy, and I would love to be able to make people happy through something I also love.” 

Kean Kane: Student Spotlight

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