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On 11th December 2019, Selby College welcomed Zach from Insight2Games to facilitate a workshop for Level 3 Extended Diploma ICT second year students using software called UnrealEngine. The students study a wide variety of modules on their BTEC programme of study, including a module wholly dedicated to computer games design where they are able to explore principles of games design and generate ideas for a gaming concept of their own.  The workshop was a unique opportunity for students to develop these skills in game development with software often used professionally by developers and to enrich their own knowledge beyond what they had previously encountered within the FE classroom.

The session began with an introduction to UnrealEngine and discussing how this is the same software that has developed many games which students will have encountered within their own personal gaming interests. This included high profile games such as Gears of War, Fortnite and Batman Arkham City amongst many others that the students recognised, which really helped contextualise the workshop and grab their attention to the capabilities of UnrealEngine on an experienced level.

Zach had brought 12 laptops set up with the software and began by explaining the different tools they were going to work with and what was going to be covered in the 2 hour workshop. The students followed Zach’s tutorial on how to create a human character in a 3D world. Ultimately, the students created a character that could run and jump from building to building and they explored the technical aspects of creating a solid gameplay universe in the 3rd person perspective on a basic level.

Throughout and at the end of the workshop there was an opportunity for students to ask questions about working within the games development industry. The students asked really great questions which covered a wide range of aspects of gaming industry. This included some in-depth discussions about studying games design at university and the different courses available which students could look in to. Zach, from his own personal experiences was able to provide an insight into how to gain work experience with different companies and his experiences of working free-lance. The students also had lots of questions relating to the technical aspects of the software they had been using and linking this to their current studies.  

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