I’ve spent this week going into both my ex secondary school and also my ex sixth form college going to talk about game development and how with Dreamspark’s help you can get games and apps onto the Windows 8 and Windows phone 8 stores for absolutely free.
First up John and myself did Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon at Trinity House Academy talking to year 10’s and 11’s that study Computer Science at GCSE level, about 40 other both days. Then on Friday, all on my lonesome I did the same talk to 50 2nd year BTEC ICT students at Wilberforce College, many of whom are looking to go to University next year. Both days followed the same agenda. (Friday I bribed the the kids with a sweet if they took a picture and tweeted me it as John wasn't there to do that.)
First up we introduced ourselves and explained our roles as Windows Games Ambassadors and Microsoft Student Partners, talking about the benefits of doing what we do to improve our CV’s and portfolios. We also gave a quick plug about local game development community on facebook; Hull Indie Game Dev, Platform Expo and Platform Studios and of course our own game companies The Gnome Factory and Beard Bandit.
Moving on, we showed the opportunities with Windows development, detailing how to get free software and developer licences through Dreamspark and how to make a game on all the different devices considering how the users may use them.
I gave a quick demo of Construct 2, the drag and drop HTML 5 game engine aimed at Designers and Artists and is very useful for some quick prototyping. Construct 2 is brilliant for cross platform deployment including web browser so you can easy send the link to anyone without installation.
To give the kids some participation and involvement we passed around some Windows 8 devices and some phones for them to check out some of our games we have made and some games the other games ambassadors have made.
We then ran an exercise splitting the kids into groups and gave them some specification for a game. They needed to give an initial concept, some artwork and discuss why they met the client’s needs. We received some weird and wonderful answers but that’s what it’s all about, creativity, something no one’s ever done before. They were really engaged with this exercise as you could really tell it’s something they really loved doing. The winners of each day received some sweets and some have some t-shirts on the way to them.
Finally we finished off showing them a demo of some live coding. John had put together a nice tutorial of adding a ball texture into Monogame and making it bounce around the screen. It did become abit scary for some of them seeing live coding but by the end of all the questions they seemed to really be inspired to pursue this in the future. A big Q + A session at the end was pretty successful, mainly due to the offering of a sweet per question and many stayed back to talk further and some have already joined the group on Facebook.