Recently our editor Lynn visited Dare To Be Digital, a games fair in Dundee to find out a bit about gaming, and how kids can get involved. This week we will feature tips from successful women in the games industry, and information about where to start looking at a career in games, starting today with a feature on how to create your own video game.
When I attended Dare to Be Digital, I was particularly interested in the experiences of two women who were scheduled to talk on the topic of Women in Games.
Sophia George is the V&A’s first Games Designer in Residence, and has already released the award winning Tick Tock Toys app with her company Swallowtail Games,.
Erin Michno is co-founder of Quartic Llama, which developed OTHER - a game in cooperation with the National Theater of Scotland, which took participants on a spooky audio tour of Dundee.
Both women studied at University of Abertay, in Dundee, Scotland.
Erin and Sophia had some great suggestions on getting into the world of games – not just playing them, but how to create your own game. It is not nearly as difficult as you might think!
Make a Paper Prototype
Before you start to write code, or make a game, try making it out of paper to see how it all works. As the author of this paper prototype tutorial states, ‘Imagine if you were going to spend time writing code, creating art, and producing sound effects and music for this game, only to find out when it was almost finished that it is never going to be fun without major changes‘.
Sign up to Scratch
Scratch is a programming language and an online community where children can program and share interactive media such as stories, games, and animation with people from all over the world. As children create with Scratch, they learn to think creatively, work collaboratively, and reason systematically. Scratch is designed and maintained by the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab. Here are some other good websites for starting to make your own games.
Go to a Game Jam
Game Jams are events where games developers come together to plan, design and create one or more games in a short period of time. Check out Stemettes for details of UK based ‘Hackathons’, or check out this site for international Game Jams. You can also google the name of your town or city and add ‘game jam’ to see if there is one planned nearby.
Connect with local gaming community to see if anyone is organising a Game Jam. If they don’t have plans, ask for help in setting one up for you and a few friends.
The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card-sized single-board computer developed in the UK by the Raspberry Pi Foundation with the intention of promoting the teaching of basic computer science in schools. You connect it up to a TV or monitor, plug in a mouse and keyboard and you’re off! Check out the list of Raspberry Jams
Looking at a career in games?
Remember that it is not just programmers who make the games (the people who write the code). To create a really great game, a team of people will work together, including graphic artists, producer, writers and audio technicians. We will focus on these other careers in a later article.