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Computer programmers from Kent shortlisted for BAFTA Young Games Designer Award

By William Janes

Young computer programming whizzes from Kent have been short-listed for a prestigious national award after designing their own videogames.

Harry Petch, 17, Luke Pierson, 14, Nils Andre, 15, who all attend Oakwood Park Grammar School in Maidstone have made it through to the final 10 of the BAFTA Young Games Designer (YGD) Awards.

They are also joined by Pavanjot Town, 13 from Rochester.

The four boys have spent months designing and creating video games in the hope of having their hard work recognised at the national competition - they are up against 49 other competitors.

Harry Petch
Harry Petch

Harry, from Marden, has produced top-down fantasy action game called Tempo.

The game involves playing as a silent wizard equipped with a magic staff and boots. The staff fires a projectile in time with the beat of a current music track and the enemy's movement and attack patterns also change to match the music track’s rhythm.

Harry worked with his friend Louis Jackson, 16, from Brighton, who composed a special soundtrack.

"I'm very, very excited. It's an amazing time at BAFTA YGD," he said.

A screenshot from Tempo
A screenshot from Tempo

Harry, who made it through to the finals in 2016 with an earlier game called Illuminate, also mentors younger students in an after-school computer programming club.

"Since the beginning of this school year I have been running the club each Tuesday and I made it specifically to push towards getting other people to submit for the competition because I know how good it is. It's such an amazing opportunity," he continued.

"I'm so insanely happy that a few of the people who came to my club actually ended up getting in, it blows my mind.

A screenshot from Tempo
A screenshot from Tempo

"I wanted to help cultivate their ideas but ultimately they're the ones who came up with these games, they're the ones who made them. I'm just there to push them in the right direction and give them some guidance.

"The club is really good as a safe space for people where can can relax and work on these creative ideas.

Nils, from Maidstone, and Luke, from West Malling, are both members.

Nils Andre
Nils Andre

Luke, who entered in the game concept category, has designed ‘A World Without You’ which sees players, one playing a Solare, a sun man, and the other as Lunare, a moon man, work together to solve puzzles.

"I am extremely happy to get into the top ten," he said. "I am super proud of myself and shocked that I was able to make it here. I have learnt how much effort it takes to program and am very enthusiastic about my game and would love to see it open to the public. This has inspired me to make more concepts in the future."

Luke Pierson
Luke Pierson

Nils' game ‘Blindspot’ is designed for those with impaired vision, using sound to win. Players navigate through a maze using a sound as their guide.

"I'm really happy to be a finalist," he said."It has made me more motivated to add more content to my game making it better and more polished.

"It shows that my ideas have potential and that I'm capable."

Lunare, designed by Luke Pierson
Lunare, designed by Luke Pierson
Solare, a character designed by Luke Pierson
Solare, a character designed by Luke Pierson

Pavanjot's game ‘Spooky Da Ghost’ sees players use gravity shift to help a ghoul on a quest to restore its powers.

The group will find out if any of their games have won at the final judging to be held in Piccadilly, London, on Saturday, June 29.

Nils' Game, Blindspot, can be downloaded here while Harry's game, Tempo, is available here.

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