Egor Levchenko: Do not be afraid of mistakes. How children in Lviv are taught to create computer games
Egor Levchenko has been working on game development for seven years, he is also a teacher. Yegor's most famous game brought together 150,000 players in the first day. He lived in St. Petersburg, Odessa, and even Mexico, but chose Lvov through people. For more than a year, Egor has been teaching children how to create games six days a week in Lviv. Yegor Levchenko told how from childhood you can start making money on what you like and manage to do, and how ordinary schools intimidate children and how to help schoolchildren believe in themselves.
The course aims to show children how to create games and make their fantasies come true, as well as what the game industry looks like from the inside. In addition, the course will help teenagers more accurately determine what exactly interests them in computer technology (programming, art, game design).
In the classroom, students listen to theoretical lectures on game design, location design, character creation, and gradually learn how to create their own large project.
He is a real professional in his field, someone behind his back ascribes to him a peculiar title of “leader”, and there are simple explanations for this. When Yegor Levchenko teaches classes, everyone is so attentive that it seems like some kind of leader distributes tasks to employees, or the team captain in the final game, or even the leader of the gang, whose authority is adamant ...
At the second level (the course has 3 levels), students independently choose the project they will work on. At the third level, they learn to “upload” their games to different services and support them.
This is a course for those who not only love to play computer games, but also want to create their own - and this is a must, because players simply do not belong here.
A feature of the course is that already from the first lesson you will begin to develop your own games and get acquainted with how game worlds are created. Age category of the course: 10 - 16 years. Classes are held in the afternoon.
The main thing is the motivation of the child
Almost everyone can enroll in our course, but we do not teach everyone. To test motivation, we introduced an interview, because often a student and his parents do not fully understand that learning is not so simple and easy. It is important for me that the child is fond of games and really wants to create them.
For me, the successful graduates of the program are those who went on to study. I consider this a success. That is, if a child has a passion and a great desire to continue the process of self-improvement, this is already cool. Often students ask how to do something in a new game and when the next course will be. It motivates me a lot (smiles). For now, I continue to help my students who are developing the game and aim to release it on the Google Play Market in the near future.
After completing the course, we gather graduates for a game jam, where they have a theme and 8 hours to create a game. I know students enjoy learning when they ask about the date of the next jam. By the way, parents often join the tasks together with their children.
In addition, I should note that often children come to the course already with their computer or even board games and say: “I want to study this further.”
I like people in Lviv
I chose a place of work between Odessa, Kyiv and Lvov. I have been to Lviv many times, and here I am satisfied with the people and the environment. They smile more often, not so frowning. If I had stereotypes about Lviv, they were always positive - delicious food, liqueurs, good people and a simpler attitude to everything.
I moved from St. Petersburg, where I taught courses for children. It's hard for me to compare students, but there were not so many motivated children. What surprised me in Lviv was how children of 8-10 years old express ideas. Although they are younger, they have many more ideas. They are more open, and the older ones are very constrained by the school system.
Schools don't teach kids how to learn
Children should not be forced to learn. The main thing is to interest them so that they want to know more and understand why they need this knowledge. Often children come to open classes with the opinion: "This computer science again." But then they say that this is an interesting lesson in their life.
But I see that children do not know how to learn from banal examples: they are afraid to choose the wrong option from several instead of testing all the options and choosing the right one. Children are intimidated that they might make mistakes. I don't know if it's the influence of school or home education. Among other things, I want my classes to teach children to learn, make mistakes, and speak their mind.
Teaching helps me to be who I want to be
Firstly, teaching structures opinions very much, and secondly, I free up space for new ideas and opinions. It is also good to understand: children know that they can create games on their own. Why not help them?
We can show kids the whole game development process. Not only about how cool it is to make drawings or how to build a level, but for students to understand how the game goes from idea to final result. They also learn to make games understandable to everyone, to present their idea in an interesting way. We do not use a programming language in our courses, but we use "visual programming", which uses all the same terms and concepts.
I have a long-term goal: to see where these kids will be in 10 years and what the games industry will look like here in Lviv.