Youth Tech











{September 25, 2006}   Youth Game Creation

In the past couple of years I have been fortunate enough to speak at several conferences, symposia, meetings, etc. about the emergence of gaming activities and programs within our youth serving organizations, especially libraries and technology centers. My passion about this activity lies in the desire of youth to create things, especially games, films and related media. I’ve recommended several tools that an organization can use in offering these learning opportunities with little or no understanding of the film or game making process.

One excellent resource in this topic area is the Youth Digital Arts Cyberschool-YDACS (www.ydacs.com). YDACS offers a whole suite of online courses and software. One can learn how to create games, digital art, music and manga. They have been working with youth for several years now in creating their own games. In fact, last March they held their first Youth Video Game Design Festival in the San Diego area. Check them out and take a tour of the cyberschool.

There are other similar services, organizations and companies out there that are doing this. Although YDACS is the only one that I have found to provide a set number of courses and some thought out curricula for such an endeavor. Another product that might also be of some use to those interested in exploring this educational service is Game Maker www.gamemaker.nl. Game Maker has a book and a forum and tuturial sites that help you learn how to use the software to create games. It also is relatively inexpensive.

Then recently Microsoft announced that they will be selling their XNA Game Studio Express program for a $99 annual subscription. It states that it will enable individuals and small teams to more easily create video games using new, optimized cross-platform gaming libraries for Windows and Xbox 360. This beta release targets the development of games for Windows. The final version of XNA Game Studio Express will be available this holiday season and will enable development of games which target Windows and upon purchase of a XNA Creators Club subscription, the Xbox 360 as well. Now this is a bit on the advanced level and might require a little more of a resource expenditure that the two mentioned above.

If you have other software, products, organizations, methods, tricks that you or your organization has used to offer similar educational opportunities/experiences to youth please post a comment and I will make sure to include them.

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