Welsh Youngsters Collaborate to Create Winning Computer Games

20 July 2009

Marooned space travellers battling monsters, people trapped in war films and soldiers firing hot dogs were among the themes of computer games created by school pupils during a two-day workshop held at the University of Wales, Newport.

Year 10 students from eight Newport schools spent two days working in teams to put together the story, characters, graphics and music for their games at the first ever Games Development Workshop, organised by the University in collaboration with teacher Mike Harries of Bassaleg Comprehensive School. They were the first to use a state-of-the-art£50,000 computer suite at the University that is available to all Newport schools.

“This event has been a great success and shown that young people from a variety of schools can work together in teams to create entertaining games,” said Steve Rowlands, Lead Advisor for Education with Newport City Council after helping to judge the best game.

“There are lots of opportunities for people in Wales to find work in creating computer games and Newport’s University is one of the front runners in producing graduates for today’s multimedia industries.”

Commenting on how challenging and enjoyable the competition had been, 15-year-old Rhys Durham, a member of the winning team, said,“We had to start from scratch and create a scenario and a world filled with our own original characters, music and sound effects.

“Our team included people who are into music and programming so we very well balanced. Our game was about a boy who was transported into a war film he was watching and had to fire hot dogs at the bad guys to win.”

Trophies and certificates for the event were presented by Rhys Roberts, District Development Manager with chain store Game which donated the prizes.

“The computer games industry is one of the biggest in the world and events like this help to give young people a taste of what being a computer games designer is all about,” said Dr Mike Reddy, Programme Leader for the BSc (Hons) Games Development and Artificial Intelligence course at Newport Business School.

“Newport’s University has two courses that were developed by liaising with the computer games industry to meet the growing demand for graduates. We believe it’s essential to maintain close links with the games industry to enable our students to successfully find jobs when they graduate. We already have graduates working for major games companies such as Sega and Blitz, and recently, we were proud to be the only Welsh venue in the first ever Global Game Jam, a worldwide game creation event. We were especially pleased when two games created by our students were in the best of hot picks by indiegames.com,” he added.

For details of computer game development and all other courses at the University of Wales, Newport call the University Information Centre on 01633 432432 or visit www.newport.ac.uk

PHOTO CAPTIONS:

(PLEASE CREDIT PHOTOS TO: PHIL MANSELL)

Games Development Workshop JULY09_03p.jpg

Rhys Durham from St Julians School and Joe Sullivan from Caerleon Comprehensive composing the music for their computer game, watched by

Iqra Rana from Lliswerry School and Alexandra Lee from Bassaleg Comprehensive School.

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Space ships battle monsters in‘Marooned’, the game created by Rhiannon Hunt and Jessica Haggerty. Watching the game being tested are Samuel Compton and Cameron Morgan

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The winning team, Will Court, Joe Sullivan and Rhys Durham, show off their trophies. Behind them are competition judges Rhys Roberts, District Development Manager with Game, and Steve Rowland, Lead Advisor for Education, Newport City Council

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