Empowering Students To Access The Gaming Industry for Comic Relief 2024

Samuel Wain
15th March 2024

A unique game jam was thrown in aid of Comic Relief 2024, led by Gower College Development Studios (GCDS), and supported by the British Esports Student Champions – GCS Owls.  

GDCS is the first ever further education based game development studio in Wales, paving a pioneering path which gives students practical experience of what it’s like to work in the gaming industry. We spoke with the driving force behind Gower College Development Studios Dan Webb, a lecturer at Gower College Swansea.

You can donate to the project on Just Giving.


So Dan, who are Gower College Development Studios?

GCDS will be Wales’ first Further Education based Game Development Company, whose purpose is to nurture and enhance Welsh creative talent within the sector. We’ve not actually launched yet, GCDS will fully launch in the next academic year, September 2024.Game Jam 2024 is our first pre-launch event.


Why did you run Game Jam 2024, and why on Comic Relief?

We have a range of students with differing needs from autism, young careers, and mental health. Through doing this event for Comic Relief, we hope to help some incredible programs within the UK that support some of our learners.


For the students, I think that doing practical experiences like Game Jam 2024 will allow schools to foster a work-based environment - so that they are able to get a flavour about what working with the gaming industry would be like for them.

Game Jam 2024, in particular, was a launch event of our new academic enrichment program at Gower College Swansea, enabling and nurturing the development of Welsh creative talent within the game development community and creating a network of connections for upcoming Welsh talent.



What happened at Game Jam 2024?

A game jam is an event where you collaborate to make a game within a short time frame.

In Game Jam 2024, our students came from a variety of subjects and levels, from Computing and Digital Technology, to Esports and Art, and from A-Level and BTEC - but they all worked together to make one game.

The students were given a pre-made brief and only eight hours to develop their concepts to make a fully working game from scratch.

Amazingly, the current British Esports Student Champions - the GCS Owls joined us with some of their players taking part in the development and helped playtest the game. 


How did the game turn out?

The project went well, I think we produced a game that showcases the talent of our students. It may not be overly long and include as many complex elements as we wanted, but I believe we've developed a Comic Relief friendly game that’s easy to play. 


A screenshot of the game created by GCDS students

How much have you raised so far?

So far we have raised £790, which is really nice, and our fundraising will continue to go on into the weekend.

If you’d like to donate, you’d make a huge difference. Please do so on our Just Giving page.



This game was made using GameMaker, why did you choose GameMaker as the software?

In terms of game development, a lot of our students study Digital Technology or Computing, where they learn how to develop games in GameMaker for their coursework.

So, GameMaker seemed like the most obvious fit for this project, it has the capabilities possible to make a brilliant game that fits the brief that I set for the development team. 



What did you take away from the event that might help someone trying to do the same?

Don’t go into it with an overly ambitious plan. Create a game that is simple in nature and delivers visually, adding interesting game mechanics are brilliant but can take up a lot of development time.



GameMaker and Education


Schools and universities around the world use GameMaker to teach students of all ages how to code their own video games. GameMaker makes designing games easy, regardless of your background or skill level. All you need is an idea!

Get instant access to a suite of educational game design resources that you can use and modify at your discretion. Check out our GameMaker Education webpage to find out everything you need to get started or find out more.


Written by Samuel Wain
Sam Wain is a digital marketer at GameMaker. He runs the YouTube channel, writes blogs, and leads influencer marketing. In his own time he's often found crafting stories, composing music, and implementing his sound effects into a new game or project.
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