Photos & Personal Posts

Tech Camps 4 Kids

Tech Camps 4 Kids

I started coding when I was 7 years old at a school-holidays computer camp in the UK. We used QBASIC to write a “guess my number game”. I remember writing that same program out on the school library computers to the amazement of my mates who insisted that I show them how to do it too.

I think that experience combined with early modding sessions of Quake and GTA is what led me down the path to become a professional computer games programmer.

So when 24 years later and half a world a way I as offered the chance to give back and help the next generation of computer games developer make their start I didnt hesitate to volunteer to help out.

TechCamps4Kids is run by an incredible South African lady called Brenda who, fedup with the way computer science was taught in school, decided to start her own after-school club to try to tech kids the actual skills they will need to become the next generation that shapes our technological future.

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I was introduced to Brenda and TechCamps4Kids via a mutual friend that I know from one of the entrepreneur meetups I attend here in Perth. She told me she was looking for someone in the gaming industry who could be a judge for a game development competition she was holding for the kids. Knowing how I started out on my career I thought this would be a good opportunity to pay just a small part of my thanks back.

It was a great morning with about 15 kids in attendance ranging from ages 8-14. I spent some time going around looking at all their games, chatting to them, asking questions and trying to work out how to judge their creations.

The kids were being taught using Click Team Fusion and some Scratch. I really surprised at the results. I was expecting to see lots of very similar games that had just been taken from the “template games” but what I got instead was an incredible variety of different games and genres. Some kids had really gone to town and built story driven experiences and others had built simple but addictive avoidance games which wouldn’t look out of place in this “just one more level” style of endless runner mobile games out there right now.

In the end it was a very hard decision to pick just 3 kids as winners, I would have loved to pick all of them but I guess thats not how competitions work.

I hope that TechCamps4Kids continues to grow and develop so that next year I can be invited back to judge once more. I would be great to see the progress made by the kids over the intervening year.

If you live in Western Australia and are looking for somewhere to send your children to teach them some essential skills for this digital age I would strongly recommend TechCamps4Kids.

My interview for the Pixel Sift Podcast

My interview for the Pixel Sift Podcast

Last week the guys over at the excellent Pixel Sift reached out and asked if I would like to do an interview with them for their Podcast. So we had a short chat about Mr Nibbles Forever, PC publishing and the Credit Redeemer debacle.

Check it out below, the interview starts at 9:47.

If you like what you heard I strongly recommend that subscribe to the Pixel Sift podcast they are definitely in my “Must Listen” group of podcasts.

North Western Australia, Winter 2014

North Western Australia, Winter 2014

Well I have been back for over 3 weeks now but only just got round to uploading the pictures and videos from my 3 week trip up north. I had an absolute blast exploring some of the more remote Australian countryside.

This was the rough journey we took:

From Bunbury to Broome was 4 days in a car with Kelsie and her parents. We stopped off at a few beautiful spots along the way:

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We even managed to make it over to Dampier for a quick photo with the Red Dog statue:

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Once we arrived at Broome we met up with Kelsie’s Brother Trent and his FiancĂ© Emily who live up there and spent a few days chilling out around the beautiful area:

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After a few days we were off again, this time two cars; Kelsie, Myself, Trent and Emily in one and Kelsie’s parents and their friend in the other. Our route took us along the Gib River road (a dirt road inaccessible for part of the year) all the way to our destination of Kununurra. Along the way we stopped at nice spots:

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Once at Kununurra we had a few days to explore the spectacular landscape:

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After just a short time we hit the road again and headed back to Broome, we took the highway on the way back so it only took a couple of days. This gave us more time to spend in Broome again:

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And then it was all over! Kelsie and I flew back to Bunbury while her parents drove the car back.

I had an awesome time ‘up north’ exploring more of Australia, I cant wait to see more of it in the future!