Multi award-winning games studio and creators of the Total War franchise, Creative Assembly, invited local students into their Horsham-based studio and turned their game concepts into reality in a first-of-its-kind game jam.
Students from the West Sussex all-girls school Millais, created their own game concepts as part of an exercise to help inspire them about the opportunities within the fields of science, technology, arts, engineering and math (STEAM), through the process of game design. The activity was hosted in partnership with BAFTA’s Young Game Designers initiative.
This is the first time a studio has developed student concepts into playable games. Nine teams of expert developers from Creative Assembly spent an hour sitting down with the 14-year-old students to understand their concepts as part of the discovery process. The teams then had 48hrs to create the games, ready for the students and their parents to play.
Creative Assembly has published a short video documenting game jam here: http://bit.ly/CAgamejam
Tim Heaton, Creative Assembly’s Studio Director and EVP of Sega Studios, said: “Working with BAFTA, we’ve been able to challenge students’ perceptions of games and give them a valuable first-hand insight into the development process. We know that diversity breeds innovation and we want to inspire more young people from all backgrounds to consider careers in the games industry and to recognise that it is an incredibly creative and professionally rewarding place to be.”
Melissa Phillips, Games Event Producer at BAFTA, said: “It has been fantastic to work alongside Creative Assembly to bring the BAFTA Young Game Designers initiative to Millais School. It is so important to provide visible role models for young people and encourage them to express their creative ideas. We’ve enjoyed helping to connect the students with industry professionals to turn their game concepts into reality.”
Sammi McEwan, Concept Artist at Creative Assembly, said: “Meeting the students from the local girl’s school was a great experience. When I was their age, being in the games industry was my dream so I wanted to share some of my experiences with them and give them some advice. It was fun to meet them and I hope that they liked the game we made.”
Zongyi Chen, Lead Character Artist at Creative Assembly, said: “It was an absolute joy to meet the students at the end and see how pleased they were with what we made for them. This game jam has been such an incredibly positive experience for us and I really hope it has made a difference to how these young people see the industry.”
Creative Assembly’s game jam, FrancoJam, is now in its 4th year but 2018 is the first time it has included an educational aspect, as part of the studio’s commitment to UK STEAM education via its Legacy Project.
The UK continues to face a digital skills gap with Engineering UK estimating the shortfall of UK engineering graduates to be 20,000. Additionally, only 8% of the UK’s current engineering workforce are women – the lowest number across the whole of Europe. Creative Assembly’s Legacy Project aims to educate and inspire young people into the industry through a number of initiatives with local schools, leading UK partners like BAFTA and Digital Schoolhouse, and on University-level curriculums, like the East London Academy of Music and Arts.
Creative Assembly has written about the digital skills gap and their work to address this as part of the Legacy Project here: bit.ly/gameseducation.
Find out more about BAFTA’s Young Game Designers Competition and discover resources on how to come up with your own game concept at http://ygd.bafta.org/