Digital Future is bright for City College game developers

Jun 15, 2015

Students will demo newly designed games at Devonport Market Hall open day

Students from City College Plymouth will be unveiling brand new computer games designed from scratch at Devonport Market Hall’s Digital Futures open day on Saturday 20 June.

Creative Media Production students from City College, aged 16-21, are taking part in a creative employment  programme traineeship managed by RIO (Real Ideas Organisation), which includes the development of two community computer games which will be played for the first time on Saturday.

Members of the public can visit the open day at Devonport Guildhall at any time between 10am and 4pm and try out the games for themselves, as well as seeing and interacting with all the other innovative digital technologies on display.

The students as part of their work placement have been tasked with helping to run and deliver the Digital Futures 2015 open days, working on innovation, logisitics and promotion of the event to showcase the plans for the Market Hall development.

The students have also organised a game jam, where teams or individuals can put themselves forward for the challenge of creating a game in just four days, to be judged at the Digital Futures event on Saturday 20 June by a team of professional developers.

Peter Dubois, one of the students taking part in the project said: “We were asked to come up with ways of making the event appeal more to families, which is why decided to make community games that everyone could join in with and organise a game jam for other young developers to show the public what we do.

“I’ve been interested in gaming in general since I was really young, I moved on from board games to computer games, then became interested in coding and learnt things like Java Script and HPL before using C# which is what many major game designers use. I’ve helped to design one of the community games for Digital Futures called Sweet Space, which is competitive and fun and will hopefully get lots of people involved.

“It’s good that this project has given us the freedom to come up with ideas, decide on themes, and see what other people produce. It’s also a great way of meeting developers from other studios; I didn’t even realise that there were game companies based in Plymouth, I thought it would either be London or America, but I’ve learnt that there actually are some really good creative developers here in the city.”

Alongside Sweet Space, which involves travelling through space collecting candies to get the highest score, another game called Bread Run has been created by a group of enterprising students who already have their own game development companies, Hello World Studios and ooSoom games.  Bread run features characters from the Column Bakehouse racing around Devonport delivering loaves of bread.

The Digital Futures open day, supported by Redrow, has been organised by the partners behind the Devonport Market Hall redevelopment, which will see the formerly disused building transformed into a hub for Plymouth’s leading digital innovators and a centre of community activity.

Visitors to the open day will be able to take part in tech workshops and interactive installations, have a go at computer coding, experience Oculus Rift technology and play the latest games.

Kate Rowlands from RIO, one of the partners leading the project said: “The creative trainee programme offers students the chance to gain real work experience alongside their college course. Devonport Market Hall will be closely linked with City College Plymouth, offering a range of education programmes, and so we were really keen to have students from the college helping to shape the open day events, planning, promoting and making them more exciting and innovative. Everything they’re doing at the event they’ve thought of themselves, and we’ve been really impressed with what they’ve done.”

The refurbishment of Devonport Market Hall is being led by social enterprise RIO (the Real Ideas Organisation) in partnership with Plymouth City Council, the Institute of Digital Arts and Technology (i-DAT at Plymouth University), City College Plymouth, Devonport High School for Boys and seven of the brightest tech companies in the region.

Samantha Harvey, Creative Media Productions Subject Leader at City College Plymouth added: “This project has given the students an invaluable opportunity to work with a real client, follow guidelines and producing an end product. This experience has really enhanced their portfolios and increased their chances of employment in the games industry. I am really impressed with just how focused and committed the students have been during their time working on this project, and with how they have managed to capture the essence of Devonport and the surrounding areas within their game development and event planning ideas.”

The Digital Futures open day will be held at Devonport Guildhall from 10am – 4pm on Saturday 20 June and is free to attend.

For more information about the Creative Employment Programme Traineeships visit  http://ccskills.org.uk/supporters/funding/england/traineeships.