Over 3 days participants worked with Aidan from Teaboy Games to make wildlife themed video games to be installed in an arcade cabinet at Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve.

Using the Construct3 game design software, participants made video games inspired by the environments, animals and stories of Fingringhoe Wick – the nature reserve Signals has documented through a variety of creative wildlife workshops over the past few months of our HLF funded project. 

From paper prototypes to arcade cabinets

Participants began the week by getting to grips with the software, making simple platformer games and understanding game design principles to use in their own games. Construct3, which offers both a free license and a reasonably priced education license, is a great follow-on software for young people who are reaching the limits of Scratch and wanting to make bigger and more ambitious games.

Having Aidan from Teaboy on hand was a fantastic experience for the young people, his expert knowledge of the software meant they could get assistance realising game design ideas they wouldn’t have been able to code themselves. 

The brief we set for the participants was to design a game inspired by the environment, animals and stories of Fingringhoe Wick. With most of the students having attended previous Signals workshops at the reserve, as part of our The Year project, we studied a map of the site and researched using the Essex Wildlife Trust website – as well as other Signals videos and photos from our project.

Once everyone had picked their final ideas and chosen their teams the research began! Finding out the specific species which inhabit the reserve, their diets and their predators. During this process we even discovered that Essex is home to Orange Seals! The games ranged from under water platformer games, one in fresh and another in salt water, Bagder Attack (featuring a level based on the reserves infamous ‘Adder Alley’ – a pathway renown for its number of snakes basking in the summer sun) and Reserve Runners, a game all about wildlife conservation.

 

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Arcade Games at the Nature Reserve

From Spring 2018 to Spring 2019 Signals has been documenting both changes in the reserve and the people who visit it from season to season. We’ve taken photos, made films, played music and even coded video games – all inspired by the beauty of Fingringhoe Wick. Excitingly our project will culminate in an exhibition of all the best bits from the project, including a custom made arcade cabinet featuring the young peoples games! More details will follow shortly regarding the launch of the exhibition at the visitors centre.