A new games engine targeted at school children has been released through a partnership between UK arts academy BAFTA and a leading university.
The Games Unpacked tool is a ‘drag and drop’ games editor that allows young pupils add grassy platforms, glowing power-ups and dangerous traps onto a pre-built game world.
No knowledge of coding is necessary to use the tech, and it is hoped the editor will encourage children to enjoy creating their own worlds.
The tech has already won industry-wide backing. Arts academy BAFTA has released the tech along with Abertay University, the UK’s leading academic institution for games development. Funding council NESTA and Electronic Arts are also backing the editor.
The Games Unpacked tool is built using the Unity Engine and is hoped will be engaged with at key-stage learning.
Earlier this year, NESTA collaborated with industry luminaries Alex Hope and Ian Livingstone to publish Next Gen – a widely-applauded govt advice paper on how to build the next generation of game designers.
One key proposal in the report is to better engage young pupils with games; an initiative which could be fulfilled if Games Unpacked becomes widely adopted in schools.
“Every young person I know absolutely loves playing games, and Games Unpacked is a fun and easy way to take the next step into making their own games,” said Paul Durrant, director of business development at Abertay University.
“By creating a simple ‘digital toolbox’ of all the elements of a game level, children of any age can build a brand new game and start learning about the fascinating process of games development.”
The Games Unpacked initiative comes amid the BAFTA Young Game Designers competition. The contest involves teams of 11 to 16 year-olds submitting an idea for a new game for a chance to win a range of prizes.
Awards include work experience with EA studio Bright Light, along with a working prototype of the game developed with Abertay University. The deadline for entry is Monday 24th October.
“Games Unpacked is an additional offering on the BAFTA Young Game Designers website, and we look forward to seeing how visitors engage with the package,” said BAFTA producer Niyi Akeju.
The game engine can be found here