Olivia Lochmandy likes to create.
She and her twin brother produce a web show about video games and the 14-year-old also performs music under the name O-Sky at venues on the Space Coast.
But using code to create video games is something of a newfound skill for the home-school student, one she picked up early this year.
At a hackathon recently, she honed some of her development skills alongside professionals.
"It's about being in a room with these game developers who really know what they are doing," she said. "Even though I know some of it, it's not the same as working with a team and working with professionals."
More than 100 people attended the Indie Galactic Space Jam, a video-game building marathon that saw about 15 teams work all weekend to build a playable game.
Among them were several young students like Olivia and her brother Blake.
Organizer Kunal Patel said his goal had never been to attract younger people.
"At first, we were hesitant because it's not somebody we market to," he said. "When it happened, I thought there were some people who slipped through the cracks. But we never technically had an age restriction."
However, he said their presence could help the region.
Central Florida is home to three video-game development schools and dozens of small, independent video game companies. It's also home to a studio of video game giant Electronic Arts.
"We are trying to build up the environment for the future," Patel said. "We want to help create the level of talent for this region's workforce."
"It's amazing when you see the ages at these events," Patel said. "It's great to see driven youth come here and hold their own with people two or three times their age."
The event brought various NASA workers and professional video-game developers together.
"The younger you can get interest and enthusiasm in someone, the more opportunities they will have," said Caley Burke of NASA. "We hope this exposure puts them on the path that brings them to us or to something where they can improve life in some way."
Patrick Rasmussen estimates that the Space Jam was about his 40th hackathon. He said he enjoys interacting as the games get built.
Rasmussen brought his 11-year-old daughter, Grace Lemke, to her first event.
"It's really a special father-daughter bonding," he said. "It's hard to find things that we have in common, so it is special."
Grace wanted to learn how to animate characters using video-game engines.
"It's a really creative place and there are a lot of creative people here," Grace said. "Learning in the classroom, they don't go too deep. But learning from my father, I learned a lot because he's good at what he does."
Keith Lochmandy sat off to the side of the room during the event.
As he watched his twin children work with people far more advanced and older on video games, he said getting them started in technology should benefit them in the long run.
"It's techies that are cool now because they are changing the world with things like Amazon," he said. "Everybody has been great about letting them contribute. That's been great to see."
At the space jam, Olivia and Blake built what they described as "a game about nothing," in which players serve as an intern for a space company and have to perform menial tasks, such as placing an order at a Starbucks or refueling a jet.
Olivia says the activities are mundane, but creating the game still gave her a chance to learn new programming skills.
"One of the things I'm learning is to be adaptable," she said. "You don't have to know how to do it if you know how to figure it out."