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Esports & Creative Digital Media working in partnership with 4wardFutures to deliver national project

Posted: 20.05.2021

If someone told you they wanted to study ‘esports’ at college, would you be thinking “you can’t spend 2 years sitting around playing games all day – that isn’t a real career!”?  If so, then think again. 

Creative Digital Media and Esports students at LMC are well aware that the industry is one of the fastest growing sectors globally, and they are currently working in partnership with digital-careers charity 4wardFutures on a national project “Gaming to Development” (G2D). Partnered with Epic Games and the University of Cambridge, they are examining how 3D real-time collaboration experiences can be used in education to prepare them for careers which, in many cases, may not yet exist.

As the distinction between the ‘real world’ and ‘virtual world’ narrows, and particularly in the wake of COVID-19, projects are investigating how tools such as Unreal Engine can help to ‘level the playing field’, giving everyone the resources needed to learn professional quality development and to indirectly support the development of the key ‘future’ skills young people will require.

Wes Johnson, Principal of LMC is proud that the College is one of only a handful of FE institutions currently offering Esports qualifications and feels this puts learners at the forefront of the growing industry. 

We’re committed to developing both the current and future skills that our students will need, whilst championing social mobility.  We work closely with our local digital and tech industries to shape our provision to meet their needs; this will undoubtably include real-time 3D skills and therefore we are thrilled to be part of this exciting project at the pilot stage.

Learners at LMC have undertaken an online challenge devised by 4wardFutures, in which they used Unreal Engine in ‘Creating a Life on Mars’ (CALOM), working together remotely and in real time in a shared 3D environment.

Creative Digital Media students met virtually with renowned space architect, Phnam Bagley, streamed from San Francisco where she delivered the CALOM video brief, specifying the conditions which the habitat built on Mars must meet, to ensure a thriving human population as opposed to merely surviving; with consideration towards work, play and recreation, ensuring a healthy psychology of those who inhabit the space. The students created their own settlement on Mars with the above considerations in mind using Unreal Engine through negotiation, collaboration and planning.

Students from Esports are also currently using Unreal Engine to learn how to deliver a live-studio broadcast via a virtual production set. Using the software and various industry plugins, Unreal has evolved into virtual video production utilising network device interface technology, which allows multiple live streams from cameras and gameplay footage to be brought in to a 3D virtual sports centre to be live streamed. 

Kevin Clark-Patterson, Lead on Esports at Lancaster & Morecambe College spoke about the opportunities that have arisen for learners throughout the duration of the project;

We’re excited [and nervous!] to be hosting a live stream using Twitch where the students will showcase their development and skills in emerging technology. There are a range of roles on offer such as presenters, shoutcasters, gameplay streamers, camera and lighting operators as well as studio director to name but a few.

The ability to use ‘off the shelf’ hardware and Unreal software alongside professional application opens up opportunities for students in the very exciting creative tech industry.” 

Jack Mcllwraith, Level 3 Esports Extended Diploma student said; 

“While playing video games has been a fun part of the course, so far I would say my favourite part has been the opportunity to look in-depth into the world of gaming and how the sports industry is rapidly adjusting to making video game play a key area of the industry. I’ve also enjoyed the opportunity to learn about the business side of esports as it has given me more of a ‘behind the scenes’ insight into gaming.” 

Throughout the duration of the project, students have been attending webinars hosted by big names in the industry; Framestore & ILM (Industrial Light & Magic) which both offered insight into the possibilities of using transferable skills in 3D programs such as Unreal and Twinmotion, to realise dreams and open career opportunities.

Details for our Twitch Livestream Event are coming soon, please keep an eye on our social media channels: