co_LAB Maker Series 2015/16 – Game Engines

After the relative success of last year’s Human Centred Design programme run in the spirit of co_LAB’s pedagogical style (think mixture of blended, flipped and remote learning), it was decided to put on another series of workshop-based activities.

Although most participants enjoyed the theme of last year’s HCD co_LAB workshop series, and all groups managed to submit a final output, the biggest success was in the networking and discovery-based learning. Also welcome was the ability for any participant (student or staff) to facilitate the workshop because the entire programme was supplied and delivered in the style of flipped learning, allowing physical (or remote) meetings to concentrate purely on working through responses and solving design challenges.

With all of this in mind, we decided that an annual Semester A workshop series (now titled co_LAB Maker Workshops) should be scheduled with it’s content to vary, either by demand, to coincide with an external programme (such as the HCD last year) or to pencil in some time to work on any collaborative briefs with our partners. Semester B might be kept free for either a different workshop series or for the intensive workshop towards the end of the semester.

When thinking of a theme for the workshop it made sense to focus on something that is in discussion within the Lincoln School of Film & Media, and that’s delivering some form of Game Design. Coupled with this our collective experience with the subject and announcement that the Unreal Game has been made free for all to learn and use in March this year, it seemed like the perfect time to test the water with our current students.

But in the true spirit of co_LAB we wanted to open up this opportunity to as many relevant subject areas as possible in order to get a great mix of participant skills, interests and backgrounds. In order to do this, the focus of the workshop series needed to be adjusted slightly in order to attract creatives from all background areas, not just students who like playing games. This is actually quite a smart thing to do because the current Unreal Game engine is now becoming a viable alternative to mainstream 3D modelling and visualisations applications.

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Unreal Engine is the next logical evolution for architectural visualisation as the rendering quality is approaching realistic and the environments it creates are explorable, not just video fly-throughs.

The poster below was created to advertise the call and ensure the context of the learning style and content of the workshop were made clear:

Game-Engine-Workshop-2015-PosterWe had masses of interest after only a few days of the call being distributed, and we had no trouble filling the 20 available places (for both staff and students). In the end, the final places were offered to staff and students from Media Production, TV & Film, Audio Production, Animation and Architecture. In all, a good representation from different subject areas, each bringing with them different skills but hopefully all will leave with a desire to use the Engine, where appropriate, in their future projects/studies.

The workshop starts next Wednesday (30th September) and should run for around 6 weeks. There’ll be an update post soon that demonstrates participation and some of the stuff covered/created.

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