I Coolest Projects sono contests promossi dalla CoderDojo Foundation, basata in Irlanda a Dublino e che opera attraverso i dojo locali in tutto il mondo. Coderdojo è impegnata nella diffusione della creatività digitale e del pensiero computazionale in età scolare.
I Coolest Projects sono nati 6 anni fa, per ispirare la nuova generazione di creatori digitali, innovatori, changemakers e imprenditori. Le ragazze e i ragazzi di età compresa tra i 7 ei 17 anni che partecipano, hanno l’opportunità di presentare progetti originali realizzati singolarmente o in gruppo nell’ambito della creatività digitale.
Queste 6 edizioni di Coolest Projects Dublino, hanno visto i giovani sviluppare e presentare progetti utilizzando le ultime tecnologie, dal Cloud, all‘Internet of Things (IoT) alla realtà virtuale, per esprimere la propria creatività.
Il 4 novembre a Milano, alla Fabbrica del Vapore, Matteo Uggeri (eLearning and gamification expert) terrà uno speech dal titolo: “Giovani inventori di videogiochi – JamToday: per realizzare un serious game in un week end”.
L’Area Digital Learning della Fondazione Politecnico di Milano lavora con i colleghi piemontesi di CSP, che come ricorderete jammavano con noi anche l’anno scorso, nell’organizzazione e nella promozione dell’evento.
Questa domenica 28 febbraio, alle ore 16:30, saremo a RetroFuturo a parlare di videogiochi, istruzione e lavoro. Racconteremo anche cos’è successo nella scorsa edizione di JamToday Italy.
Sperando di porre le basi per organizzare la prossima.
In questa occasione racconteremo anche di un’altra iniziativa a cui l’area Digital Learning della Fondazione Politecnico di Milano è felice di dare il proprio supporto, ossia l’Intel IoT Roadshow. Ma di quello vi racconteremo qualcosa di più presto.
[quello che segue è il report in inglese della nostra JamToday, scritto per il sito del progetto internazionale. Lo riportiamo anche qui].
The first Milan JamToday is just over and a sense of satisfaction and nearly happiness is still surrounding the participants and all the people that spent those three amazing days in the fascinating Room of Columns of the Museum of Science and Technology. It has been very strange to see in the same place experts on game design, heads of multinational game companies, researchers on entomophagy (yes, eating insects!) or wine, alongside with 18 years old students from hi school. And us, lonely project managers of the Digital Learning and Collaboration Area of Fondazione Politecnico di Milano, that actually organised all of this in a long tiring year.
As said, the room was huge, and we got a few participants, only 10 jammers, as another event aimed to indie developers was taking place on the other side of this doomed city full of happenings, especially in this year of the EXPO (actually one of our official supporters). So two groups where made of 5 people each. According to the game jam rules, we separated the friends and made any possible effort in order to have balanced groups including developers/programmers, designers, illustrators/graphic designer and audio experts in each team.
In general, we can say that:
Only two of them had experience in game jams;
Nearly none heard of serious games before;
Only one of them already developed games;
Most of them where from the last year of hi school, so the average age was 20;
We had only one (very focused and proactive) girl;
Due to the lack of their experience and knowledge on serious games and jams, the Friday presentations have been very useful with the speeches in agenda. Paolo Branca (Playing the Game) told us on tricks and tips on how to survive a jam (“Fight the stereotypes, don’t eat thrash food and find time to sleep!”); Giuseppe Franchi (Event Horizon) surprised the jammers on the role of game design (“It’s a hard job but you’ll eat the carrot one day”); Matteo Uggeri had a presentation on learning through games (“Can you believe that Walking Dead is used to teach religion in Norway?).
Being then “Food for a healthier lifestyle” the sub-theme of our Milan JamToday (yes, EXPO again), the jammers had the opportunity to visit the #FoodPeople exhibition in the Museum, accompanied by a guide that overwhelmed them with suggestions on how food can be considered, loved, experienced and – well – eaten. We all got the opportunity even to play the games developed by Luca Roncella of the Museum itself, and it was great to see how those young students got involved into “Cibo Vivo” (“Alive food”), asking question and even criticising the interface (“We’ll see what you’ll be able to do later guys…”, probably thought Luca).
A the end of the day, as said, the teams were formed, and all jammers could start brainstorming on the first concepts and then come back home (we couldn’t manage to let them sleep there for two nights), to be there on 9:30 of Saturday, along with the mentors. God bless them: can you believe it: all these professionals working for free in the week end. Due to the limited number of jammers, the mentor could help them so much in most of aspects of game design and development. We had three mentors from VideogamesLab (Luca Deriu, Andrea Peduzzi and Luca Roncella again), a small institution with a lot of experience in teaching game design at schools, and two from Digital Bros Game Academy (Marco Ribattezzato and Simone Magni), so those jammers couldn’t ask for more.
Both teams worked hard all day, and in the afternoon the concepts started to become tiny cute prototypes of:
– a manager game for mobile phones on how to cope with the right balance of food in the different moments of the day;
– a pixel-art platform quest where you can create the hero with your personal statistics and meals, then obtaining the results depending your eating habits.
There was no way to make the play test at 6:00 as works where far away from being fully playable, but an in depth cross explanation was done for mentors and the teams themselves.
Then the night came. After a quick but strong dinner of Indian take-away and pizza (guys, didn’t you listened to Paola Branca’s hints yesterday?) the work restarted, and the music came. Awkward 8-bit samples where disposed by the dpstudios Audio Desk of Davide Pensato. Afterwars Matteo Uggeri, the Milan JamToday organiser and former electronic musician, helped the teams in building a sort of song with Ableton Live. Then audio effects where produced by dpstudios itself and given to the jammers. The air among the middle age columns was filled by sounds of chewing, spitting, cutting, jumping and – again – awkward 8-bit synthy sounds. Hell must be a place like that for the brave ones who tried to get asleep on the wooden floor or on the plastic red chairs.
Going to the toilet was quite like being popped into a mixture of Indiana Jones and Doom, being forced for a few minutes to get out from the big room and cross the huuuuge empty corridor replete of the ancient machineries of the Museum, always passing under the beckoning glimpse of the guardian (and his gun) (really) (no, listen: really).
On the morning of Sunday other mentors came, and a furious debug work begun. One team broke his head against an animation trigger in Unity, at the point that not even all the mentors here could help him in such a short time. We therefore called Turin, where the other Italian JamToday was taking place, in order to find a little help. Indeed an indie game developer and jammer connected with our guys, but he couldn’t manage to solve the bug either.
At 4.00 pm the jam was over, the jury members came and so the Museum visitors got into the big room. Believe me, it was nearly moving to see young children that specifically came to the Museum in order to test freshly baked videogames on food. Can you imagine a 19 years old guy telling to a child that has a half of his age how to play the game he just made in 48 hours? Look at the picture then.
Having only two teams, we decided to let them show their work in short presentations. The idea behind JamToday is clear: game jams are useful for participants in order to let them learn a lot not only in terms of game development skills, but also on competences related to design, team working, networking, and also public speech. So they prepared short PPT presentations and had to describe not only the prototypes but also the backstage philosophy, the aims of their projects and the way the ‘serious’ theme of “Food for a Healthier Lifestyle” was taken into account. Each team put a lot of effort into their work, and they took the theme so seriously that they looked like evangelists of the healthy food (guys, I saw you devouring those pizza’s rotten tidbits last night), so it was amazing.
But we need a winner.
So the jury members, recruited among all our beautiful sponsors, had to take 20’ in order to fill the evaluation questionnaire, discuss, fight, joke and then say what’s the best Milan JT game. I think that this picture talks by herself.
The role of taking the stage and declare “The winner is…” it’s a hard one, so we invited the guys of the first and best radio show on videogames in Italy, Console Generation, a couple of guys that speak faster than Sonic the Hedgehog and know every game on heart. Then “Cook My Life” was the one.
Applause. Commotion. Happiness.
And pale grey delusion on the other side.
We have a LOT of sponsors, not only game schools, but also a crowdfunding agency called Coffee Tree Studio. Unfortunately his master, Davide Migliore, yesterday had a car accident coming from Lucca to Milan (look, it’s more that 280 km!) and couldn’t join here, but the idea was to choose one of the team and see if it’s possible to bring it through a crowdfunding process in order to help the participants to really sell their product. And the jury was very clear on that sense: the game that had the best further opportunities is “Healthy Quest”. So, perhaps, these boys (and the girl) will be taken under the Coffee Tree wing.
The jam is over now, but the project doesn’t. We struggled to make it, but it was worth all the efforts. Being our first game jam ever (Fondazione Politecnico di Milano has usually different aims, as you may see here), it was difficult and tiring, but we’re sure next year will be easier after all the knowledge we earned. More than anything else, this jam helped in enlarging our network and establish new opportunities of collaboration, in particular with those sponsors that work also in the field of education such as Digital Bros Game Academy. Moreover, we’ve been more than happy in seeing how good might be bridging between the game development sector and the educational one.
And we had a lot of fun with these young jammers: if all the youngsters would be like them, I think I could believe in a better future… a healthier one perhaps.
La JamToday si è conclusa felicemente domenica alle 19:00: una maratona densa, faticosa ma ricca di soddisfazioni, non ultima quella di veder entrare i visitatori del Museo nella Sala Colonne per testare i giochi sfornati freschi freschi dai jammers nelle 48 ore precedenti. Persone di tutte le età affascinate dall’idea di giocare con dei prodotti appena realizzati, peraltro da dei ragazzi di vent’anni o anche meno.
Il momento topico è stata poi la valutazione finale: con due gruppi presenti non era facile decidere chi meritava il primo premio, e la giuria, riunita come in un conclave medievale, ha scelto “Cook My Life”, sebbene “Healthy Quest” avesse delle carte da giocare sul piano dei potenziali sviluppi.
A proposito di sviluppi: non perdete d’occhio questo sito e gli spazi social collegati, su Twitter e Facebook, perché presto vi notificheremo delle nostre iniziative alla Milan Games Week, vi faremo testare i giochi realizzati e molto altro…
Lettera a un giornalista che ci ha chiesto di raccontargli cosa stiamo facendo qui alla JamToday.
Ti scrivo e mando quel che posso. Non ho immagini in alta risoluzione perché nella furia ho dimenticato la macchina fotografica.
Mi chiedevi sulle idee che diamo agli sviluppatori: devono sviluppare dei serious game, di cui gli abbiamo raccontato la rava e la fava ieri in una giornata densissima.
Poi gli è stato dato il tema ‘serious’ del “Cibo per uno stile di vita sano”, in linea con EXPO (che ci patrocina), che è il sotto-tema di quello che JamToday ha scelto per quest’anno a livello internazionale, “Healthier Lifestyle”.
Nel dettaglio poi come input i ragazzi si son fatti un giro alla mostra #FoodPeople qui al Museo (vd. agenda) e ci son stati interventi sul tema del cibo però preso in maniera un po’ particolare, ossia sul vino (con una di AIS – Associaz. Italiana Sommelier) e l’entomofagia (stile ‘in futuro ci ciberemo solo di insetti?’, con una prof. di Piacenza, Elisabetta Chiappini), ma vedi tutto in agenda.
Però poi i ragazzi hanno scelto per ora di indirizzarsi sul tema dieta/alimentazione consapevole più in generale. Sono due gruppi agguerriti che sviluppano un platform in pixel art e un gestionale per mobile, dove in entrambi il giocatore esperisce giocando gli effetti dei cibi sulla propria vitalità, capacità di studiare, fare sport ecc… ma i parametri che i gochi prendono in considerazione sono più complessi di quanto leggi qui.
I compari concorrenti a Torino, Genk e Barcellona non so cosa stiano facendo, però so dirti che a Utrecht a giugno il tema della salute l’han declinato sul sonno ed i vincitori han realizzato un gioco per Oculus Rift (!) che aiuterebbe a prender sonno (mah?).
I mentor sono bravissimi a seguire i ragazzi su suoni, audio, programmazione, gamedesign, grafica… delle vere guide nel buio.
Io ho sonno e non so se reggerò fino al mattino. In caso chiamami stanotte o domani ma non garantisco di essere in grado di rispondere (vorrei tentare di dormire). Un saluto, fammi sapere se esce il pezzo e su quale testata misteriosa verrà pubblicato.