Creative Commons License

All Creative Computer Club Resources created by Matthew C. Applegate are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. Please note that some of these resources also contain images of software that is protected by copyright and are used under special agreement with these software companies, they are therefore are not covered by the Creative Commons License. The text is free to download, use, edit and redistribute, the images are free to download and use as is, unfortunately they are not available to edit and redistribute. You can find the resources page here.←

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

CCC GameJam 2013

CCC GameJam 2013 was a great event, a week long event with game making in the morning and game playing in the afternoon. This week we decided to make shoot-em-up games. The participants grouped together in pairs as I took them through the basic principles of using Game Maker to control players, make enemy spawners, and write up a high score table.

The afternoons were spent playing LAN games as well as gaming challenges (like Minecraft building challenges). On Wednesday we had out colleague Ron come by and help with the gaming challenges and help with some of the students art.


We are sincerely grateful to "The Producers" and Andy Payne for all the wonderful game prizes and to Mark O'Neil who sponsored us a Firefox Phone, thank you so much. They were super excited and surprised by them.

We ended the week with a full day of just playing games and lots of treats. All in all it was great week of social gaming, making and playing. Perfect activity for those about to return to school.

Thanks to Greenfinch Church for letting us use the room. I now look forward to the next GameJam in December!!!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

CCC Annual Week Long Games Jam

So from August 26th to the 30th CCC will be having its second annual GameJam where we will dedicate the entire week to making and playing video games. The event runs 10am-4pm everyday Monday to Friday with Friday mostly about presenting our games and eating cake.

Last year we combined it with Young Rewired State, but this year I played a much bigger part in the festival so we delayed it.

So it will be once again be taking place in the church and hopefully we will be making lots of cool new games. We will also have a visit from art teacher Ron to help out with the graphics. We will also be having lots of game competitions on consoles throughout the ages.

I am going to assign random groups to mix the participants up a bit to get different outcomes.

I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

We built this city, on co-bble-stone!

As part of a treat / experiment for the Creative Computer Club I decided to set up a server for them to play/work and build together and despite a few minor teething problems they have begun to build together at a staggering rate.

I have been taking a few snapshots of their work at night to mark their progress.

I have also taken to assigning them different partners on projects other than the people they normally work together with at the CCC sessions, that way they can learn from /teach different people in the group.

Making Games with CCC4Kids at St. Helens School, Ipswich.

Working with St. Helens school in Ipswich I was able to turn 9 kids, 6 girls and 3 boys aged 7 to 11 in to game designers over the course of six weeks. We went through the history of video games, digital illustration, box cover art and pitching the three teams games and demoed them to the parents at the end.

I am very pleased at how they all turned out and I think they did a really good job. They as always were great kids to work with and I hope a few of them go on to make games in the future.

Friday, 26 April 2013

The Creative Computing Club High Altitude Balloon Project


Over the summer/autumn the Creative Computing Club which was initially funded through hopes to launch a High Altitude Balloon (HAB) to collect data and pictures from near space. 


You can help fund and support this project here at 


What Is Our History?

The Creative Computing Club has gone from strength to strength after gaining funding through last year. The initial pilot course ran for 8 weeks with just ten students, it hasn't stopped since then and now it has over twenty students who regularly attend the Tuesday sessions. Because we have grown in numbers, we have since moved from Chantry library, Ipswich to Parkside PRU, Ipswich which has a full IT suite and excellent friendly and supportive staff.
In addition to the financial support from all those who pledged through we also received support from Rapid Electronics, Young Rewired State, O'reilly publishing, YoYoGames and Love Electronics via equipment and expertise and for that we are truly grateful.

What Do We Do?

The aim of the Creative Computer Club (CCC) is simple, teach kids new skills using technology whether that be computer programming, electronics, game design, digital illustration, digital sound, animation, using tech such as Arduinos, LEGO Mindstorms, YoYo Games GameMaker, Processing and much more.
The CCC project has proven to be a success and beneficial to students not just while at the sessions but in their everyday lives by boosting their confidence and allowing them access to professionals who donate their time to teach them. It has helped a number of students in their school work allowing them to find connections with the things they are learning and real-life examples that they can not only understand but explore and build upon. Lastly and certainly not least CCC has provided a social outlet for the students, providing them with teambuilding exercises which also help build their self-confidence and motivation.

What Do We Want To Achieve?

The CCC aims to launch a High Altitude Balloon in to near space to collect data and images. The project also brings together a lot of the learning we have undergone in the last year requiring us to build the the probe/payload and balloon using our electronics, programming and design skills.


Research how High Altitude Balloons are made, learn and observe a local organisation launching one.
Meet with local Astronomy clubs to identify the needs and possibilities of our HAB to make it safe, robust and as much fun as possible.
Build the components in to the payload, temperature sensor, GPS module, camera, sound recorder so we can track it upon landing and collect the data from it.
Apply to have the balloon legally and safely launched.
Learn how balloons are tracked using various APIs and GPS software.
Document the entire process through a series of videos.
Prepare a rough guide to launching HABs so other schools and community projects can do the same.

Are There Any Risks? 

All publicly engaging projects have risks, but through careful planning and design we hope to all but eliminate them. Even if the the payload is lost / destroyed we will still have the learning experience of having built one and all of the off-site learning experiences with the different organisations.

What Are The Benefits?

CCC has a history of providing students with unique learning experiences, this project will build on several aspects of their skills. They will need their electronics skills to wire up the components, they will need their programming skills to get the components to work together. They will need their design skills to design a robust and safe payload system with multiple contingency plans.
One of the fundamental beliefs of CCC is that if a student doesn't know they are allowed or capable of doing something, the chances are they are not likely to try it, building something as unique and hands-on such as a High Altitude Balloon with give them an enormous boost in confidence to explore what they can do with their talents.

What Will This Funding Cover?

Well apart from the obvious components, things like transport, both public and vehicle hire to see and meet the experts, insurance to cover the children out-and-about as well as the balloon itself. This will also sometimes cover snacks and warm drinks if we are to go out observing with local astronomy clubs at night time.

Who Is Running The Project?

Matthew C. Applegate / Pixelh8 the founder of Creative Computer Club and CCC4Kids will be drawing on his vast range of experience to help the group design, build, launch and document the project. His previous experience includes working with Institutions like the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge and organisations such Rewired State, the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum and The National Museum of Computing to deliver engaging learning opportunities for children and adults alike. Additionally Matthew is currently researching for his PhD in Educational Technology and will be donating his time and skills for free to the project.
Additional help and information will be sought from the "Orwell Astrological Society", "UKHAS",  and the "Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge" but these are yet to be confirmed.

Great! When Are We launching?

Well that is of course dependant on successful funding, weather and availability of the organisations and specialist individuals. The short answer is looking like the end of summer early autumn at the safest and most suitable time for a successful mission.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

CCC4KIDS Project One Platform Game

I have been working with the wonderful and talented students from St. Helens primary school in Ipswich to learn about, design and make a platform video game. I am very pleased with both their hard work and their "professional" attitude of setting up "pretend" video game companies. The 16 students were taken on a course of the history of video games, design concepts of video games and basic computer art to produce the wonderful game you see below. They then divided themselves up in to four groups and produced one level of their game as a proof of concept for it.

This is the first project for CCC4KIDS aimed at getting children aged 7-11 interested in being creative with technology. Sincerest thanks to Mr. Babbs, Mr. Budd and St. Helens primary for letting us host the club at the school. I look forward to running many more exciting projects with them in the future.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Digital Illustration session four of four.

It was the last session of Digital Illustration today and the results were just amazing. Over the course of four weeks (6 hours total) we got them to learn how images were made up of basic shapes, we got them to sketch, ink, scan and colour in those images. I am really impressed with the work. Here are just two of the examples.

I am so impressed with the whole group, they really put a lot of effort in and achieved great things. For a lot of them it was mainly about slowing down and really taking your time with the image.

Next week, we start electronics.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

CCC visits UCS for GGJ13

Today we were fortunate to be invited to the Global Game Jam event, an annual event where students have around 48 hours to take a game from concept to completion. The local event was hosted by University Campus Suffolk so I saw it as a good opportunity to show the students of CCC what it was like to be a games design degree student.

We had an hour long tour of the event and the CCC students got to see the games that were made and ask questions. I think it was really good for them, the students at UCS were as always polite and welcoming and I think the CCC students got a lot out of it. Some of the CCC students are at a age where they have to start choosing their options, so to hear what route to take from the games students and lecturers was really helpful.

A lot of them have said they want to return there as a degree student which is fantastic to hear. Some of them didn't realise that becoming a games designer was even a possibility for them, thanks to the well established course at UCS it is.

One parent has emailed me to say that it is really great that her son has said he will try harder at Maths if it means he can become a games design student. Sincerest of thanks to all the staff and students at UCS for being such great and inspirational hosts. You can check out the excellent games they made here.

Who knows maybe next year we might even take part :)

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Creative Computing Club 4 Kids

So as you may know I run the Creative Computer Club at Parkside PRU for students from all around Suffolk, it is hugely successful, with a waiting list of around 80 students. These students are aged 12 to 16 and they are a great group to work with, very talented, very vocal. I am pleased with this ongoing project, but deep down I knew I needed to do more. I knew I needed to start with younger kids to give them the boost they needed to get were they wanted to go in life.

I have now setup CCC4KIDS at St. Helens Primary School it is simple, it is the same rolling "curriculum" as the normal CCC admittedly slightly less depth but they get to do Robotics, Programming, Game Design, Animation, Digital Music and more. The group is for 7 to 11-year olds , initially it is for students of St. Helens but I hope to open this up to students from all around Suffolk in the future, we just need to work out the details.

Today was the first session and it was great we are doing game design as the ice breaker, we are starting to divide the 16 students up in to 4 groups of 4 and next week they are going to pitch their ideas before they go in to production. They are great to work with, very positive very excited about doing something creative. By the end of the six weeks we will have made four iPad compatible / HTML5 games, that I will link to on here when they are all done. It is a lot of work ahead but I know it will be a great fun.

Again the work is unfunded and voluntary, I do this in Suffolk for Suffolk because, I have to. I know that it has a positive effect on the students not just in their IT work but in a lot of the work they do.

It was good fun today, and I look forward to next week. It is a bit daunting as I suddenly realize I am responsible for 40+ students now and their development as developers. I know I need to be a positive and inspiring role model and provide them with exciting projects to be involved with, hopefully I can get it all done, I think I can.

Honourable mention from Creative Computing Club, Joe has successfully passed his exam with an A earning him a place on the computing A level at Suffolk One. We are all really proud of him and we know he will do well.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

And Upward!

So today we continued our illustration / character design sessions, looking again how different popular characters are created out of simple shapes, the amazing Phineas and Ferb are a perfect example of using shapes to differentiate characters.

Today we were joined by "Ron" who is an amazing artist, who worked on early Playstation titles in the design phase. He is also working with me on some new games, but that is top secret at the moment. It was great because he showed the students how he progressed from a simple idea to the finished piece, highlighting that these things don't just appear fully formed, they take multiple sketches and a lot of practice to get there. How they are made up of simple shapes and have features slowly added to them. We looked at how a design of a goblin might differ in a game for a older audience (more detail scarier) and a younger audience (simpler cute).

At the end of the session we drew slips of paper from a box and we had to draw whatever it had on them, I had a space man for first one and a pirate for my second, so I made a space pirate.

Next week, we will be adding more detail, inking them and scanning them in ready for colouring.

It was really nice having "Ron" come in and help out, I look forward to having more special guests visit in the future.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013


So Creative Computing Club is back, and this month we will be looking at illustration on both paper and computer. Today we looked at faces (cartoon) and how they are made up of different shapes and how to divide the face for placement of all the different features. We also looked at how images are lightly sketched, retraced, inked with sketch lines finally removed. For a lot of them it was a bit of an epiphany as they thought so many of these images were just drawn first try without sketching. Taking them through the stages of simply sketching circles and slowly adding features allowed a  lot of them to achieve better results.

I also had to explain, they need to slow down, analyse the thing they are trying to draw, break it up in to shapes and in to areas. A good book for this Christoper Hart's Humungous Book of Cartooning it is excellent, the other book I talked about is The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation both of which are prized possessions of mine. They all agreed they learned something and can see how this will help with both the graphics work and game design. It was strange today though as it was a computer club without any computers.

Today was also the first session I had to charge for, I sent out the email the other night and was quite upset to do so. I think it is more to do with the fact I really think a lot of these things we are doing should be covered more in school (which is free) so I was reluctant to charge. I am after all an idealist, that is why I am here. The parents were completely fine with it and were surprised that I had managed to keep them free for so long, so because of the parents paying the fees and from the donations that we get from this site we should be fine to carry on. It also means I can spend more of my time on planning out cool sessions instead of worrying about getting funding.