Young people from three Swindon schools have launched an interactive, illustrated sci-fi ebook game app for mobile devices.
Called Binary: Decoded the youngsters from the physical impairment unit at Commonweal School, Crowdys Hill Special School and the media club Lydiard Park Academy collaborated over three months, delving into their imaginations to write, illustrate and perform a story about a world where robots rule and humans have been discarded. Their story, told in the form of a game, follows a 14 year old experimental Android called Pye (designation 3.1415), who, with the help of game players, discovers her true identity.
But first, players have to save Pye from the compassionless RestructorBot. Now available at App Store and Google Play, the game was launched at a humanoid fun evening attended by family, friends and project supporters at Darkroom Expresso cafe in the town centre on 12 August.
Project coordinator Keith Phillips, creative writing and app design tutor at Digital Writes, said: “In this increasingly media dominated world, there are more and more opportunities for young people to take up a career in the creative and media industries. It’s important for they are exposed to the possibilities and have the opportunity to work with arts and media professionals to find out what such a career could be like. It’s not just TV and movies; websites, games, books, educational resources all need people to create them.”
Neil Mercer, teacher at Crowdys Hill, commented: "It's been a fantastic opportunity for students to work with professional artists and game designers to stretch their technical and creative skills in ways that's very hard for me to do as a classroom teacher.”
Media teacher Sam Dare, from Commonweal, said: “The students have been given an insight into how an app is planned and developed, giving them invaluable experience working with industry experts. Students got involved in illustration, scripting, marketing and digital design and programming, which they thoroughly enjoyed.”
Lydiard Park Academy media club coordinator Cathy Urquhart, added: “It was great to work with other schools,with young people with all sorts of abilities and conditions contributing to the project. Digital Writes’ tutors are laid back with the students; it’s a different approach to the formality of school and brings out lots of creative ideas.”
Commonweal student Ben said: “Its been great to find out how to create a professional app, and how much time and effort is needed to make such an advanced product.”
Student Dylan added: "The sessions were amazing; really really fun. I really enjoyed learning how to build the app."
Emily added: "It’s was really fun working with David the illustrator. It's great how the app looks."
The project was funded by Arts Council England, with additional support from Swindon Does Arts and members of the public through a Crowdfunder campaign.
Sherylee Houssein, Digital Writes producer, said the public’s response is now important: “We need readers to help make the young people’s work a success. Please buy the app and leave them a positive review. And if you would like to get involved in a future project, please go to digitalwrites.org.uk and click on Contact.'
Binary: Decoded is available from App Store and Google Play for just £1.49. All the proceeds will go to fund further community and education projects undertaken by Digital Writes which is a Swindon based not-for-profit Community Interest Company committed to enabing anyone to produce illustrated, interactive ebooks and printed illustrated books to be published and distributed on tablet computers.