On March 18th, GameMaker hosted an educational event at the Escola Estadual Prof. Eduardo Soares school in Alambari, Brazil. It was the first seminar in our newest project, ‘Gamers of the Future: A GameMaker Initiative’.
Students were able to learn more about game development and discover how they can break into the industry. They also got to code their own games with GameMaker in a series of practical activities. They were a little shy at first, but our developers were on hand to ease them into the wonders of game-making.
Workshop participants posing with None, Guselect and Luiz
“When the students started creating their first game, their attitude changed.” Luiz Alves, the developer of Super Chicken Jumper, recounts. “They got very engaged, asked a lot of questions, and showed off what they made. “They even wanted to know if we'd come back the next day to teach some more!
“There was an eight-year-old student who wanted to participate in the workshop, even though it was aimed at older students. One of the teachers asked us if he could join, and we said ‘YES!’ immediately. He did so well, too!”
Afterwards, we caught up with the attendees to see how they enjoyed the workshop, and to ask whether they thought about becoming game developers in the future.
Bernardo Bricola Neto and Kauanny Gabriely Copola da Silva - 17 year old students
Would you like to make games in the future?
Bernardo: I would love to be a game developer. It's a little complicated, of course, but it's very interesting.
Kauanny: It would be cool to have the experience of being a game developer. I want to be a maths and chemistry teacher, so it would be good to know about game development because I noticed that it involves a lot of mathematical thinking, especially coding.
What type of game do you want to make?
Bernardo: A God of War game, except the weapons would be musical instruments and the sound would be the attack.
Kauanny: Games that have a lot of action and fighting, for young and adult audiences.
Which part of the course was the most interesting?
Bernardo: What I liked most was learning how to animate the characters.
Kauanny: Creating the characters and making the movement was the coolest part, because they are things I never thought could be done. And if I were to do it alone, I wouldn't be able to. My game was based on Harry Potter and I would like to finish it.
Gamers of the Future
Adriana Soares Fernandes and Marcelo Batista da Silva - Physical Education and Maths Teachers
What did you think about the initiative?
Adriana: I loved the project, because it encourages children to enter this world of development, how this process of developing games works. Since so many students love games, why not try and inspire them to try creating some of their own?
Marcelo: This project was a starting point, but what we need is for our students to have more tools with accessibility options in them. Some have difficulties working with numbers, and more events like this will allow the students to get more experience inside the classroom to combat that.
Can games be used as learning tools?
Adriana: Many disciplines could be taught through the games, such as mathematics, Portuguese language, geography, and history. We could bring those specific skills into each game to make learning easier for the students.
Marcelo: Game development helps our students develop various skills. They end up having greater mobility in the technological world, and deepen their understanding of mathematics. When our students start to see their beloved games from the development side, they begin to understand that it requires knowledge of colour, design, and coding to create a game.
Showing off GameMaker certificates
Luiz Fernando Delgado - School Principal
What are the biggest challenges your school is facing?
Luiz: We currently have some difficulties due to the lack of internet connection. Previously it was covered by the federal budget, but that ended in August 2022. We have some connection, but it’s mostly restricted to the administrative computers, which are 28 netbooks. This is a great problem, we have been trying, organising ourselves to see if with our own funds we can cover the cost.
How can schools benefit from teaching game development?
Luiz: A lot of young people are interested in games and in social media. All students are playing something during breaks, so being able to develop games themselves will help a lot in their learning. If we bring the components of studying into a more facilitated language of games, everything will become much easier.