Aardman Animations, the creator of Shaun the Sheep, has teamed up with Nominet Trust to launch Shaun’s Game Academy, a national competition for young people to build online games based on the adventures of the popular TV character.
Aardman is looking to inspire the next generation of makers and artists, encouraging them to build a Shaun-based game using coding platform Scratch.
The Game Academy will release ready-made characters, backgrounds, props and effects into Scratch to help them to create games.
There are three categories for entry: under 12s, 13 and over and a family category, presumably to help out those youngest of video game/coding enthusiasts.
The winning coders will be invited to spend the day at Aardman Animations, also famous for family favourites Wallace & Gromit, to have their creation developed further by the studio’s award-winning games team.
Nominet Trust, the UK’s only dedicated tech for good funder, has collaborated with Aardman to give children the opportunity to develop critical skills by appealing to their interests in gaming, animation and popular culture.
The competition, which runs until September 2014, will allow kids, school teachers and families to get involved.
Teachers will have access to resources they can use in class to engage young people ahead of September’s ICT curriculum change, which requires them to teach basic coding.
Annika Small, CEO of Nominet Trust, said: “Children are eager to make their own projects online, but many don’t have the opportunity to do so. Combining digital making with young people’s everyday interests is a great way to create digital activities that are relevant and fun. This is why we are really excited by this partnership with Aardman Animations and the launch of Shaun’s Games Academy.”
The project’s Creative Director, Ricky Martin, said: “Here at Aardman we all have a huge passion for games and spend the majority of our time producing them for children. Shaun the Sheep has a huge fan base and we hope that making Shaun assets available on Scratch will attract children who had never even thought they could make their own games. We can’t wait to see what amazing ideas the children come up with!”
Nominet Trust has been actively supporting young people of all ages to become digital makers for the past two years. Shaun’s Games Academy is the latest national initiative, with other programmes including Make Things Do Stuff in partnership with Mozilla and Nesta; and the recently-launched iDEA programme with HRH The Duke of York.