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.←

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.