ScreenWorks Online helps young people start careers in games

  • The ScreenWorks programme is offering students aged 14 to 19 free training and insight to help them toward a future career in games or film.

    The screen industries have become some of Northern Ireland's fastest-growing emerging industries in recent years. Major TV shows such as Game of Thrones selecting Northern Ireland for filming has helped shine a light on the local industry, and major recent wins for local game development studios is helping to put the NI games industry on the map.

    The ScreenWorks programme supported by NI Screen is giving students the opportunity to gain insight into these growing industries and help kick-start their screen career journeys. Local game development studio owner Stephen Downey is now offering students free training and insight into game development through the programme.

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    Stephen Downey is director of Belfast-based creative company Outsider Games, which currently employs seven people from its University Road studio. The firm is currently wrapping up production on its game "Jennifer Wilde: Unlikely Revolutionaries" and is moving on to developing a new game called Tax Force about tracking down billionaire tax avoiders in space.

    Tax Force is one of three local games to be funded this year through the Creative Europe Media scheme, which has helped support Northern Ireland's emerging games industry. Stephen commented: "The gaming industry is really starting to take off here. When I started Outsider Games 10 years ago, there were few studios in Northern Ireland and no university courses offering training. There’s so much more opportunity now."

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    Opportunities in the NI games industry are on the rise as the industry is attracting the attention of some big names. Derry-based Hypixel Studios was acquired by League of Legends creator Riot Games last year, and Ulster University's game design courses were recently endorsed by industry giant Epic Games.

    The ScreenWorks programme aims to help young people see the opportunities in the sector before they choose their university course. Through it, Stephen has been helping students learn about the different skills used in game game development, from animation and 3D modelling to music composition and programming.

    Sean Boyle of Into Film commented: "Game development is a serious business with huge potential. Stephen’s online workshops have shown young people the opportunities that are out there and has given them first-hand knowledge of this exciting new industry."

    For more information on ScreenWorks Online, head over to 

    Source: Written based on press release

    About the author

    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

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