CEO of Leti Arts, Eyram Tawia has joined forces with Ghanaian Bluecrest College to launch a series of virtual online certificate courses aimed at those keen to break into the games industry. Whilst it’s the start of a long held ambition, the course could be a proving ground for the formation of a game design and development school.

Tawia is a multi award winning developer who has always believed in Africas ability to positively impact the world of gaming through cultural diversity preservation. He took some time to expand on the game development program.

How significant is this for the development of the local games industry?

We need to create more of “us” African game developers which most studios do inform of internships and bootcamps as a way to encourage more skillsets in the space as create hope for younger generations as NO or very very few universities or high-schools teach game dev on the continent. When challenges are listed by any game dev studio in Africa, Human resource is the first… followed by culture of games as Africans respect education and see games as play thus two distinct walled gardens.. this step goes a long way to solving these two challenges.

Education for that matter Academia plays a great role in taking an industry further. As an industry develops in a pioneering form like we have where most of us are self taught, getting our methods streamlined in a form where it is easily replicated to build up human resources is a great sign of growth. As it solves the one significant challenge we all face on the continent which is skilled human resources in Games. As stated, this is the first challenge every African Game studio faces thus tend to spend more money in training any hired skillset in the line of work for about 3-6 months before actually realising desired work from them which causes a bleed in budget. This course is a step towards filling the education gap in games on the continent.

Who is it aimed at and how do you hope to appeal to them?

This course is aimed at both techies and non techies. It is derived from my experience in Africa seeing how artistic we are as a people who tend to shy away from technical disciplines. This creates so much attention for those who embark in STEM courses thus stigmatising the Arts which are the majority. Though we want more people in STEM, we need creative ways to onboard them. This is an approach I use to demystify STEM by making use of STEAM methods as the onboarding Vehicle.

If you love games and wondering how to make them but feel it’s too technical, this is the course to demystify that myth. Making games is a creative and technical art form which makes use of all skillset. In this course you will familiarise yourself with the building blocks and practices of game development. Game development has proven to be a great way to introduce computer science & engineering concepts to both techies & non-techies. Since it cuts across all skill sets, everyone tends to find a role to play. It gives a clear and practical approach of introducing software engineering (STEM) concepts to everyone in a simple tangible form thus using the principle of STEAM which outlines the intersection between Computer science and Arts. You’ll learn to develop a game concept; prototype, test, and iterate on your ideas; and navigate licensing, marketing, and other business considerations

What are your goals and ambitions for the program?

I want even “writers” to see themselves as Engineers (marry Arts and Science well). I want the Arts to know science is 80% Arts and that their skillset is equally necessary in any Tech product thus using Game development as the tool to achieve this. Using the Anatomy of Game Development and processes to achieve this.
I see this program going a long way to validate the inclusiveness of skill sets in game development. This would be the fastest way to integrate Game dev into the academic space in Africa which is degree or certification prone and provide job opportunities for the masses this time with some form of certification thus transforming the cultural perception of games. This curriculum is one I’ve developed and used my own approach which I believe is a great way to introduce game development on the continent taking into account our upbringing. Thus it takes a strength heightening approach which uses indirect ways to leverage any skillset in the making of a technical product. I started a new NGO around this approach called STEAM Africa which evolved from the Leti Arts internship program over the past 10 years.  

My vision for this is to become a base template for a possible establishment of School of Game Design and Development in future.
Leti’s Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) curriculum uses a human centered approach with design thinking techniques and series of exercises geared at introducing participants to the field of game development in a fun and engaging manner. The curriculum also aims to use a team based approach to illustrate the use of various scientific and mathematical concepts in game development in a fun way. 
Course Objectives 
* Ignite an interest in STEM related activities within participants. 
* Highlight the essence of Collaboration and teamwork among participants. 
* Elaborate on the necessity of optimizing potential skills. 
* Expose participants to the technicalities of game design 
* Demonstrate the deployment and actualization of game concepts.

A detailed overview of the course curriculum can be seen on the Blue Crest website.