Building a team and developing ideas
January 2021 | Posted by Judi Alston
The world is taking notice of the youth voice on climate change and One to One Development Trust want to harness and nurture that voice in Wakefield.
Our Earth, Your Choice is a new game that encourages players to think about the consequence of their choices on the health of the environment. With investment from Wakefield Council’s Creative Challenge and Cultural Development Fund, One to One Development Trust are creating an innovative prototype video game which is providing a learning pathway for 25 young people aged 8 to 20 years old who are being mentored whilst helping produce the game.
The games industry is a dynamic and fast-growing sector in the UK and in 2020 made a record £2.91bn contribution to National economy.
“These new statistics also clearly highlight the importance of the games industry to the future of the nation’s economy and recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Our ‘Playing On’ report, released in July 2020, showed that UK games businesses were operating at an average of over 80% productivity even during the most restrictive lockdown period. The industry’s resilience, combined with these record-breaking economic figures, show that this is a future-proof sector, ready to help build back the British economy post-COVID”. - UKIE, July 2020
It is against this background that One to One Development Trust want to help to inspire the next generation of game designers from Wakefield. As the young people come together more and more, they will grow as a team, develop friendships and contacts that have the potential to be long lasting.
“I’ve loved meeting people on here with the same interests and listening to other people’s ideas for our game” “I’ve liked looking at how coding works and ideas for the game”. - Participants in Team 1
Our Earth Your Choice will take the form of a ‘miniature Earth’, where earth’s fate is determined by the player’s actions and choices. The game will work with a mouse/keyboard, gamepad or touch screen and run from web browsers.
The overall idea of the project is to give the participants an overview of the games industry. We hope that this project will make them more critically aware of games, so they understand all the skills needed to make a game. There is lots of potential for the groups to be creative and use the project to explore their interests in character design, artwork, storytelling, graphic design and much more.
“I like hearing what games people like and enjoy”, “its all about communicating and sharing ideas”. “I really enjoyed it- how you can set your story out in Twine and make cliff hangers” - Participants in Team 2
Creating an online game due to the complexity of the medium is challenging in normal times, but during a pandemic whilst engaging young people in the process, and running all the development sessions over Zoom, can throw up challenges. Luckily, we have lots of experience at running creative projects online and have recruited a great cohort of young people who are passionate about gaming, creativity and the environment.
We are taking the participants on a creative journey making a game to a prototype standard that is fit for public testing/release and potentially further investment – hence why in the recruitment campaign we called it an ‘ambitious project’.
“The project is pretty good.” “I enjoyed showing my work.” - Participants from Team 3
At this point in the project (only 2 sessions in with each of the four groups) we have been getting to know the young people and find out what their interests are.
We’ve explored ideas for characters, levels and storylines. Participants are sending in artwork/character ideas/audio/Twine storyboards all of which is discussed in the online workshops where decisions are then made about the direction of the game.
In between sessions, as the game evolves, participants will be testing out their concepts and feeding back through polls and questionnaires. The final design will come together between sessions ensuring the ‘feel’ and ‘concept’ of what the game is a collective group effort.
“Good for work experience/CV”. “Climate change is an important issue – conveying through video game good idea”. “It’s a new experience of what I enjoy doing." - Participants from Team 4
Over ten sessions running from December 2020 to May 2021 the groups will look at character design, level design, different types of programming, soundscape, testing, marketing, creating a pitch deck and meeting other creative professionals linked to the gamming industry. But its not all just about producing a game, through the project young people are building up personal skills like confidence, idea sharing, listening, speaking out.