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CLASS OF 2017: Top prize leaves DMU graduate feeling animated

Dedication to making game-based creative technologies more accessible has earned one De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) graduate a top prize and funding for his community event.

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Jason Boomer’s passion for machinima - a form of filmmaking which uses computer games graphics engines to create a cinematic production - started when he set up an online group for UK-based fans in 2004, for what is now the longest-running machinima series in the world.

By dedicating his Creative Technologies MA/MSc to analysing, evaluating, critiquing and producing machinima, Jason has landed the Faculty of Technology’s top prize for the highest mark for his dissertation.

Achieving 82 per cent, Jason’s thesis is currently being re-worked into a journal paper for publication, with support from his tutor.

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The 29-year-old said: “My MA was a chance to reset my undergraduate degree.

“I graduated with a BSc in Computer Games Technology from Portsmouth in 2009 and I didn’t really get to utilise it in any of my jobs since then.

“So I leapt at the chance to study at one of the best media universities in the country and to be taught by Dr Tracy Harwood - one of the world’s leading machinima experts - in the Leicester Media School.”

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As a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) ambassador, Jason is now turning his focus on Creat-A-Con, a creative technologies event that has attracted nearly 1,000 primary and secondary students in 2015 and 2016.

In its third year the event is being supported by #DMUlocal as well as student volunteers from the university, and continues to feature activities using technologies such as virtual reality, 3D printing and Raspberry Pi, presented by Leicester-based organisations.

Jason runs Creat-A-Con through his technology events-organising business SideFest Ltd, which he set up in 2014 following years of voluntarily running games-related activities across the country.

He was also responsible for organising the International Machinima Convention in 2016, bringing to Leicester some of the world's leading machinimators, 'let's players' (gamers who create and commentate over films or screenshots of a video game) and researchers, such as the originator of the term, Hugh Hancock, and Dutch filmmaker Chantal Harvey.

“Community building is at the heart of everything I do,” said Jason.

“Leicester is home to a growing hub of games developers and publishers, and has one of the biggest games development societies in the country run by DMU.

“So in my quest to connect employers and those looking for employment, I recently set up the Leicester Games Network.”

Free to attend, Creat-A-Con 2017 takes place on 11 February in DMU’s Queen’s Building.

Posted on Thursday 26th January 2017

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