“I have spent this week going into both my ex secondary school and also my ex sixth form college to talk about game development and how with the help of DreamSpark you can get games and apps onto the Windows 8 and Windows phone 8 Stores for free.
“Firstly, John and I spent 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 students over both days. Then on Friday, all by myself 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. (On Friday I bribed the kids with a sweet if they took a picture and tweeted me it, as John wasn't there to do that!)
“We firstly introduced ourselves and explained our roles as a Windows Games Ambassador (myself) and Microsoft Student Partner(John), 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.
“We then showed the opportunities with Windows development, detailing how to get free software and developer licences through DreamSpark. We also educated on making 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 that is very useful for some quick prototyping. Construct 2 is brilliant for cross platform deployment- including web browser - so you can easily send the link to anyone without installation.
“To create participation and involvement from the students, we passed around Windows 8 devices and phones so the students could check out some of the games myself, Josh, and other ambassadors have made.
“We then ran an exercise which involved splitting the students into groups, then giving each group a specification for a game. They needed to have 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, making the students do something they had never done before. They were really engaged with this exercise, you could really tell it’s something they loved doing. The winners of each day received some sweets, and we have some t-shirts on the way to them.
“Finally we finished off by showing the students a live demo of 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 a bit scary for some of them to see live coding, but by the end of all the questions they seemed to really be inspired to pursue this in the future. The big Q&A session at the end was very successful, mainly due to the offering of a sweet per question. Many students then stayed back to talk further, and some have already joined the group on Facebook. A great success!