The Wits Game Design Society is working on a project that aims to grow the industry and change the face of game design in South Africa.
Game design has seen significant growth internationally, but in South Africa it is an industry that remains under the radar.
THE Wits Game Design Society (GDS) aims to raise awareness about the industry along with reaching out to more people through a new and as yet, unnamed, project. Based at the Wits School of Arts, the society wants to change the face of game design in South Africa.
Wits GDS is registered with Wits Citizenship and Community Outreach (WCCO). Game Design is a course that is offered at Wits and is offered through two different faculties. The Bachelor of Arts in Digital Arts (BA Digital Arts) specialises in creative production and Bachelor of Engineering Science in Digital Arts (BEngSc Digital Arts) specialises in development.
The society is in the process of launching a project that aims to raise funds and awareness. Their intention is to also reach out to communities and hold public events that promote an awareness about the industry and Game Design as a prospective career.
One aspect of their project involves raising funding for needy students. Lucky Nkosi, final year BEngSc Digital Arts and co-founder, said: “This is going to be a means of not only raising money for funds but drawing attention to our amazing field.”
Second year BEngSc Digital Arts and another founder of Wits GDS Keith Witelson added that education is something that should be offered to all and by being “able to offer a bursary to an underprivileged students we would be able to bring the right people into the course,” regardless of their financial background.
Over and above creating awareness and raising funds, the Wits GDS plans to be involved in community outreach programmes. They intend to go into spaces that students occupy, especially underprivileged schools, and teach them about game design with future hopes of including them in the field. This will create opportunities for students of all ages to experiences and learn about game design and making it something they can consider doing as a future degree.
The project is working on a series of different workshops that will be put into play when the project is officially off the ground. These workshops include, but are not limited to, programmes like “Game development 101, cosplay costume creation and applying game design theory to real world problems,” said Witelson.
Witelson and Nkosi see this project as one that will continue to grow in the long term and reach a larger community of students. As Wits GDS grows, the focus will not only be on game design but also having students engage with “interesting media and interacting with one another in new and vibrant ways,” said Witelson.