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May the best team win

Wanted: an idea for an award-winning game. Apply here, says John Galloway

Creating a computer game can take a lot of effort: first, you need an idea, then you have to plan the scenarios, storyboard the various events, create the environments and characters, and do the programming, all of which demand high-level computer skills.

But suppose you could stop at the first step, just having a good idea, then let someone else do the work - wouldn't that be an attractive offer?

That's just the opportunity BBC Blast is offering as the prize in this year's GamePlan competition: a chance for any 13 to 19-year-olds to move from being game-players to being game-makers.

As it's a World Cup year, the challenge is to come up with an idea for a football-related game. They don't want a variation of Championship Manager, however - they want diversity and creativity. Football and cookery, for instance, or soccer and sorcery, perhaps. Anything original can be entered.

To support the process there is a website with advice from professionals, a step-by-step example and an online game-maker which quickly creates different genres of games. There is also a chance to play Beat Battle, last year's winner. And, of course, there's an application form.

The judges are Newcastle and former England footballer Alan Shearer (below), and Peter Molyneux, game-builder and boss of Lionhead Studios, whose advice includes: "Don't just think of the story, think of how people will play your idea," and "think of an idea that is really easy to explain."

The winner will appear on both the BBC Blast and the Sports Academy websites. Students can enter individually or in groups of up to three.

While an entry could be used as an ICT focus, it could just as easily become an art, technology or media studies project, as students don't need to understand the process of making games, they just need that good idea.

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