Week five commenced with a little twist – this time, an introduction to the project portion of the Ladders programme…

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‘Everyone met at Newcastle City Library and was greeted by the TICE team, alongside Louise from Generator. It was a great opportunity for everyone to have the chance to meet other people on various courses. They started off with a talk given by the music mentor, Sam Burt, who exclaimed it was a privilege for everyone to be there. They were introduced into an icebreaker so they could find out more about the courses that everyone was taking but also get to know each other and properly introduced – it was a really good task which got everyone involved and made everyone feel more comfortable instead of sitting in a room surrounded by strangers. Silly but effective always works!

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The groups then had a very relaxed chat with Jenny, who had some great advice and skills which everyone could adapt to in order for them to stay on task and organised. This included making a timeline to make sure they really stuck to their tasks – which is only in a few weeks, how time flies! She said “don’t over complicate things” and “people will always understand” meaning that you can just keep things as simple as possible and try not to over book yourself and commit to things that you’re unable to go through with. “What can you take out of this course?” was Jenny’s key point, causing everyone to seriously consider what path they truly want to go down and how Ladders can shape that. She gave steps of what they need to do and encouraged them to embed different elements such as; design, trends, finance, and guidance.’

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The sector split off once again as we began to work on our projects. I hope to make an online game for my final project which is certainly a challenge but considering with how much I have developed over the past few weeks on the course, I feel more determined than I have ever been before to successfully complete this. Despite the nerves and hesitation in challenging myself, I look forward to seeing how I progress over the next few weeks.

The next day, we had an opportunity to observe children playing games at the Code Monsters event, ran by Campus North. The event was running whilst we worked on our projects, thus was a perfect moment for us all to see what appealed to the younger target audience. It was particularly interesting and humbling to see some of our own work being used by the children attending the event. I hope I can continue to apply the things I’ve picked up on the course effectively in my project.

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This first project session was mostly enacting the research and planning what we had discussed in the project planning session as I had to pin down a final theme for the game and look at how other games of a similar type compared. I particularly want to take the fun element and embed that in my own game, hence making it just like any other commercial game on the market.

My game is based on the concept of evolution but encouraging interaction from the player to grow cultures of cells into increasingly larger organisms. As you progress throughout the game, you attain powerful abilities to allow you character to grow the cultures quicker which should hopefully make the game very engaging and fun for the player. Phil is helping us to picture what the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for our projects might be so that we can get something working and then expand the concepts later on, depending on the time we have and the complexity of our ideas.

Overall, it has been an overwhelming and exciting week. It has been such an incredible experience to go through the process of making a game, something which reflects someone’s day-to-day job. It certainly motivates me to progress and develop these skills beyond the Ladders programme in the hopes that I can follow those footsteps.

By Josh McCulloch.