Young Game Designers Week

August 12, 2013 in Events

Last week saw the start of the second Young Games Designers Summer School. Last year’s course was a great success and I was really pleased to be invited back to lead a second week with a new group of students.

This is a week-long course at South Hill Park’s UK Digital Media Centre, where ten teenagers (14-18 years) learn Unity and make a game in a week, as well as picking up some game design theory and techniques along the way.

As well as leading the course, I live-blogged their progress through the week on a Unity forum thread here. The students had little to no prior knowledge of Unity or programming, and the course took them from the very beginnings of Unity’s concepts and workflow through to a finished game of their own design by the end of the week.Untitled2

Day one was spent with all the students following along together, all making the same simple game. The project we built on the first day is designed to encompass all of Unity’s core building-blocks and concepts such as Components, Prefabs, Physics, Audio, and a small introduction to scripting including Input, forces, public inspector variables and dragged references. This gives the students a well-rounded basic understanding of Unity’s workflow and some inspiration for what they can do with it.

From day two onward, the students get on with their own game design, each learning some theory and the necessary skills to build the design they’ve chosen.

YGDSS2b

With such a short deadline, the students also get a crash course in some of the realities of game development such as testing, game balancing, bug fixing and crunch time!

All the students did an amazing job of pulling their games together for the end of the week, and I’m really pleased with the quality and variety of games we ended up with.

Check out the games in this video montage:

 

 

Comments (16)

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  1. Kergal

    August 23, 2013 at 5:35 pm / 

    That is awesome! I think that coding – to some extend – should be a required part of education nowadays (we want producers not consumers!) and it is simply amazing what you taught them in ONE week?
    I have been using unity for about a year (seriously) now and would have a hard time with some of the things I saw in the video.

    Please offer some internationally classes for adults (in several countries)

  2. Yannie^

    August 23, 2013 at 5:11 am / 

    do you hold any classes here in Philippines cause I really want to make a game ??
    please help me, thanks^_^

  3. DKappes

    August 22, 2013 at 7:30 pm / 

    Looks like they had a fun time and made some really nice proof of concept pieces. I think it’s a great thing and would love to see the course recorded and made available as a resource for educators, not only for the direction it would provide with making a curriculum but it would also give diverse examples of the kind of things that bog down people new to learning the topic. The ad hoc nature would only add value to this last point.

  4. Yaseen Mujahid

    August 22, 2013 at 12:53 pm / 

    Great! I’m excited! I’m also a teen, I’m 13 and currently have made many games, I’m just think that my projects won’t be accepted so I don’t publish! I’m good at programming, almost all sorts of programming! I wish I could visit unite someday and I wish I would become a professional game developer!

  5. Evgeniy

    August 22, 2013 at 10:06 am / 

    Great! It look very attractive! Sorry for my English, my name is Evgeniy and i teach students in Kaliningrad, Russia. We teach Unity3D in some information centre and here is our site http://unityschool.ru. I’m looking for co-operation in this area, and maybe we can contact you to share your experiences? It would be very interesting!

  6. Duck

    August 19, 2013 at 4:03 pm / 

    @Nishant – You can get started by checking out the video tutorials in the Learn section of our site: http://unity3d.com/learn/tutorials/modules

    @Adrian – I don’t have the course content documented in a form that I can easily publish because most of the week is done in a kind of ad-lib format due to the nature of each student picking their own game styles. There’s a certain amount of stuff I cover which is common to most games – such as triggers, collisions, tags, changing scenes, GUI, etc, but again I do this on an ad hoc basis through the week, to fit in with how the students are progressing with their games.

    @Retromodular – I find your continued criticism and negativity quite bizarre. Are you saying we should have tried to teach more than one game engine in a single week? Not only would that be highly confusing to students who are totally new to creating games, it would not have been possible within the time-frame.

    The 3D assets, textures and sounds they used came from various sources – including free assets from our asset store – but I also showed them how to explore other sound, texture and model library sites across the web. I even showed them where to find custom fonts, and how to check for the appropriate usage rights. I believe that pretty much all the basic understanding of concepts learned would be reusable in other 3D game engines (at least, those which use models, textures, materials, physics events, sound sources, etc!). We also used C# which is certainly a transferable skill if they choose to continue learning it.

    Remember also that attending the course only increased the students’ options, knowledge and experience. They didn’t become “dependent” on Unity, or have any options removed! They’re still just as free to explore and evaluate other game engines as they were before, only now they’re armed with their new knowledge. And of course the makers of other game engines are entirely free to set up courses to teach their technology to young game developers too. Perhaps you should be criticising those that don’t, rather than those that do.

  7. Tony

    August 17, 2013 at 12:48 pm / 

    Afternoon every1, I live in south africa and i would really like to know if u hold unity classes here in SA as we’ll. I would really like to attend dem

  8. Nishant

    August 16, 2013 at 6:20 pm / 

    how can i learn unity online

  9. Spencer

    August 14, 2013 at 3:00 am / 

    That sounds so awesome! Will there be a camp in the bay area (sf) any time soon?
    Thanks

  10. RetroModular

    August 13, 2013 at 3:08 pm / 

    @DUCK

    Fair point, but after the course they (the students) are solely dependant on Unity3D for game development, right?, or were other tools/IDEs also used to create games during the course? I’m guessing the 3D models also came from the Unity3D asset store.

    Teaching the fundamentals of programming is a very good thing, so is teaching game programming concepts in an agnostic way, but all I’m really seeing here is Unity Technologies taking advantage of the situation for personal gain, i.e. grooming potential Unity3D users/customers.

    Anyway, sorry for these negative comments. Unity probably means well by opening up these courses for people but I’m seeing things from a different angle unfortunately.

  11. Duck

    August 13, 2013 at 1:40 pm / 

    @RETROMODULAR – the course included learning about the code for reading input, instantiating objects, detecting collisions, as well as some coding fundamentals such as variables, functions, if statements, etc. They came away with practical experience of using these in a game as well as understanding where to look to refresh their memory and find out more. Of course it takes many years to learn coding to a high standard, but they certainly learned and used some of the fundamentals, and most definitely wouldn’t be stuck staring at a blank project when trying it on their own.

  12. henTheRobot

    August 13, 2013 at 5:13 am / 

    hello again Unity devs, this is Henry

    I went to a similar camp (that lasted only one week), and it was very interesting, some of the people I knew made shooters and racers and I made a scene with a huge multi-terrain island with mechs walking as you flew over with a jet fighter with a trollface paint job, it wasn’t really a game (i didn’t put any effort to make it one), but it helped me learn to animate a large amount of objects, get into much more advanced java, and learn pathfinding (the other teens went into their break making games).

    Overall, I had fun and would recommend them to people my age.

  13. RetroModular

    August 12, 2013 at 6:27 pm / 

    Ten teenagers learned to code and make a game in a week

    LOL, what a load of nonsense :-D

    Send those kids off by themselves and they will be back at square one with some basic knowledge of Unity, staring blankly at the screen. We all know that it takes years to learn how to program properly.

    Ten inexperienced teenagers made a game in a week

    That would be a much more realistic headline :-)

  14. nando

    August 12, 2013 at 5:44 pm / 

    do you have courses for foreigners and adults ? whats the course price

  15. Adrian

    August 12, 2013 at 4:49 pm / 

    Hi. I’ve been teaching Unity to classes of 13-15 year old. However I’ve been using mainly the tutorials from the Unity web site. Have you documented the stages or materials used in the summer school for young designers? I’d like to access some resources that I may use to provide a similar course for my students this coming year. Any ideas or resources greatly appreciated! Thanks.

  16. Serhan

    August 12, 2013 at 4:31 pm / 

    do you have courses for foreigners and adults ? whats the course price

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