A new UK initiative known as SideQuest is set to encourage the 3.3 million teenagers currently under lockdown towards a potential career in games.
Launching on May 4th, the programme aims to get 100,000 young people (aged between 13 to 17 years old) to build their first video game from home. Participants will be given seven days to create their idea, with free software, regular live-streamed masterclasses and an online community available for advice.
YoYo Games will grant users access to GameMaker Studio 2 for a 30-day period, with different sessions set to be hosted by Sumo Digital, Creative Assembly, Sports Interactive, and more that are due to be announced over the coming weeks.
The first 'Quest' will be demonstrated by Sumo Digital, who have also created a range of tutorials to help beginners understand the basics, and will focus on its recently released Apple Arcade title Spyder.
SideQuest is being run by the games careers service Into Games and is being backed by UKIE, The National Videogame Museum, NextGen Skills Academy, and Digital Skills Partnership.
“We want Side Quest to be simply a super accessible way to start making videogames," said Into Games CEO Declan Cassidy.
"The initiative is designed to remove as many barriers to entry as possible, from free software to paper worksheets, this is the perfect starting point. Games are the nexus point between artistic and academic subjects, and we hope SideQuest will showcase how game making can be used to practically learn subjects as diverse as maths, English, art and science in a way that brings them all to life."
UKIE CEO Dr Jo Twist also added: "The best way to learn what it’s like to be in the games industry is to have a go at making one of your own. Side Quest is a fantastic opportunity for teens to build their first great game and to learn that anyone, from whatever background from anywhere can make it in our sector."
Similarly, UKIE today launched a new scheme called Games for Carers that will offer 85,000 games to NHS workers in the UK.