The first Future Experience Points (FXP) festival took place at the end of June, with one aim in mind: giving young people a development experience in the hopes of inspiring a desire to pursue a career in game development.
Two games jams were organised for children aged 14 to 19 from Cambridge and West Suffolk schools, with support from major players in the industry, such as Jagex.
“This first FXP festival was a huge success,” enthuses Alison Taylor, managing director at Conscious Communications, one of the partner organisations responsible for planning and staging the festival. “When we first set about organising a school and college coding competition we expected around eight teams would take part. However, we ended up with 24 teams, and that’s without doing any marketing or promotion.
“This highlights the appetite among schools and students for these types of games jams and for learning about game development.”
Taylor adds that this regional ‘pilot’ will allow them to improve and work on a national edition for June 2017.
She continues: “FXP allows students to learn directly from industry experts and provides an opportunity for them to gain an understanding of the range of careers available and what they will need to achieve in order to get there.”
Time-management, communication and collaboration are amongst the skills FXP has taught the young artists – all invaluable abilities in order to become a good dev.
“This type of event helps to grow the pipeline for future talented young recruits into the industry,” Taylor enthuses. “It also enables individuals already experienced and working in the industry to work alongside teachers and students to share their knowledge and skills, which is really important in an industry that is changing and innovating at such speed. Teachers and students can’t learn what they need from textbooks; they’re out of date before they’re published.”
As the majority of students involved with FXP are still in education, no jobs or internships were secured during the event, but Taylor has high hopes for the years to come.
“We have no doubt that many of them will be back to compete in FXP in future years and that their involvement will inspire them to consider careers in the industry when the time is right,” she concludes. “We know the major games development companies will continue to be involved with the festival and follow these students’ progress with interest.”