What’s better than a warm, fuzzy blanky in winter? It’s a trick question, obviously – there’s nothing better than a warm, fuzzy blanky in winter. I mean, except maybe like a bath that never goes cold, but that hasn’t been invented yet. In the meantime then, warm, fuzzy blankies it is.
The sad thing is, many people in this country don’t have warm, fuzzy blankies in winter. That’s why the nice people at Blankets for Cape Town decided to start collecting warm, fuzzy blankies from the people who could afford them and give them to those people who can’t. Doesn’t that make you warm and fuzzy inside? Just like a blanky.
Then the other nice people at the Friends of Design school in Cape Town decided to get involved, and made a game for Blankets for Cape Town, starring… a sheep. We spoke to Friends of Design lecturer Lars Espeter to find out more about Run, Vlokkie, Run!
MyGaming: Okay, so what’s with the sheep?
Lars Espeter: Oh, you mean Vlokkie! Well, cool, big, awesome … and white. But more important, this is the kind of project we try to get our students involved in to learn how to deal with that and to have something really great in their portfolio.
Vlokkie, as a game, has a really great background. In May I met Barry Herbert, one of the founders of a private charity initiative called Blankets For Cape Town. They collect money from donators, buy blankets and distribute them all around Cape Town to shelters, orphanages and homeless people.
Knowing that I had a seminar at Friends of Design coming up called “Graphics for Games” where I teach web design students how to use their 2D skills to create game graphics (advertising agencies get more and more interested in games as an advertising vehicle), I made an offer to Barry to create a game, free to play and free to copy, that would raise awareness for Blankets for Cape Town.
A couple of days later, I was at the 2upGamers event, where Glenn Alexander, one of the founders , announced that 2upGamers would soon turn into an NGO and donate all its revenue to charity projects. To me this was sort of a Perfect Storm.
So what happened was my students worked on the graphics for the game (they came up with the sheep, by the way), me and my German intern coded and built the game, and Blankets for Cape Town was the first charity project supported by 2upGamers, and they presented Vlokkie on the 2upGamers event in June. And the whole thing was a great success.
It is not a “great” game. It was created in only three weeks, for no money, with students who had never created game graphics before and with me spending my spare time on it – but it turned out a really cool and fun small game. It should be out by now. We want it to go viral and support Blankets for Cape Town with it.
What is important to me, except, of course, supporting a charity project, is that my students have a great reference for their portfolios and that I can prove to a lot of people outside the “gaming world” that games can be much more than just entertainment for nerds who like to shoot things. We actually help a lot of people this winter and maybe even save a life or two by helping to fund blankets. I am really very proud to be involved in this.
Click here to play Run, Vlokkie, Run!