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gify200Off the back of the success we had with our indie dev team before Christmas, we are now working on an exciting course, where people can learn to design, code, test, launch and promote games and other entertaining apps for the wider market, with modules for specialist disciplines in concept design, 2d and 3d digital art, sound effects and digital music.

There has been a great deal of excitement following the 3dotJ project, where they broke the top 10 in the Apple Entertainment charts and achieved over 20k downloads in just 5 weeks.

“It was pleasing to watch the project unfold, on numerous levels. We’d taken a group of relative strangers and helped create an environment where they could put their talents to creative use. We learnt so much about the process of designing, coding, launching and promoting an entertainment title in Apple’s App store. It was a real inspiration, one that resinated strongly around the local community.” said Andrew Deeley, Innov8 On Sheppey’s founder.

As a result we are now in the process of pulling together the course and seeking funding to help teach 25-50 young people how to produce games, entertainment and productivity related apps for mobile devices. The course will go beyond just the concepts of designing and developing titles. It will look at the complete lifecycle of a digital app, from design to post-launch promotional activities and give students an insight into how the industry developed and where it is heading in the future.

“I’m really excited!” said Andrew, “We have a group of young people with an abundance of talent and a real passion for creating digital products and we’re delighted to be working with some of them to pull the course together.”

Andrew himself started out writing computer games back in the 80’s, before moving into other fields. Reflecting on the past he added, “Back then pretty much anyone could create and launch games across multiple platforms; you just needed the model of computer your were targeting your title for and you were away. It didn’t last though because the popularity of consoles and increasingly bigger budget titles and demand for realism in games made the barriers to entry so much more challenging; and so the industries talent pool became a lot smaller.”

However, with the rise in mobile gaming and other mobile based entertainment and productivity apps, there has been an explosion of interest that dwarves that which Andrew himself witnessed in his early career, “I can start writing a game for the iPhone at the start of the week and have it finished by the end. In fact I’ve got 2 games here on my iPhone that I produced in my spare time during evenings and weekends, it is so much more accessible.”

Ease of access doesn’t come without its issues though, as Andrew noted when 3dotJ were developing their first titles, “There are a lot of frustrated learners out there, shifting through websites looking for tutorials on one aspect of coding or another, piecing together snippets and treading through technology treacle, one problem/bug at a time. Those that come out the other side deserve a medal but there are big question marks over the quality that this approach produces. My biggest fear though is how many people with potential fall by the wayside, never to try again. This is why projects like this are so important, students will be able to quickly get a taste of what they can achieve and the space, resources and expertise will be available for them to guide them on their journey and stretch their own capabilities.”

Whilst Innov8 On Sheppey’s priority is and remains supporting startup businesses on the Island, this venture is very much key to expanding the depth and breadth of the types of business opportunities that our younger islanders can look to take advantage of. The world is becoming increasingly reliant upon digital technology and here at Innov8 On Sheppey, we aim to help inspire and equip people with the skills they need to generate income from digital related businesses, right the way through the process of learning how to do it, to drawing up business plans, obtaining finance and launching their digital business concepts.

We are looking for around £25k to finish pulling the course together, produce all the material, purchase the development computers and software, network the building and kit out the learning space. An additional £35k will fund at least 25 places on the course but we’re hoping that we can fund at least 50 placements.

Watch this space.

Innov8OnSheppey - creativeCodingCentre