• RichCast education initiative pushes ‘no code’ programming into schools and universities

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    Schools and universities in the UK have been invited to join the early access phase of RichCast – a completely new genre of voice-driven interactive entertainment that helps develop the understanding of narrative writing and logic skills.

    RichCast recently featured as part of the innovative Video Games Production Bootcamp pilot initiative, orchestrated by private sector trade body Create Central in partnership with the games industry and the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), to provide career changers and recent graduates with a starting point for a career in game development.

    It has also been deployed as part of the Computer Games Development degree at the University of South Wales and by Wrexham Glyndwr University as part of its Game Development, Game Design & Enterprise and Game Art programme.

    The RichCast platform was designed for Creatives to make interactive content and requires no programming or script languages. Everything in the user interface is represented by intuitive “drag and drop” icons. It’s probably the simplest way to manipulate code, and easier to use than the Scratch visual programming language.

    RichCast is available to use for free without a license and enables students of all ages to create original and diverse content that blurs the line between literature and entertainment, complete with voice and touchscreen controls, HD video, audio-visual effects and AI voices that bring new words – and worlds ­– to life.

    Projects can be shared within a teaching group or pre-defined number of users to encourage collaborative learning among peers.

    The software has been developed by games industry veterans at UK-based start-up PANIVOX, with a goal of democratising the creation and distribution of high quality, voice-driven interactive narrative content – targeting the hundreds of millions of people across the world who enjoy consuming and creating digital entertainment in all its forms.

    While players will enjoy the freedom of consuming RichCast content on mobile devices, creators can also take advantage of the large screen environment on their tablet, laptop or desktop.

    Students and educators can now register for early access to get busy in the RichCast Studio, with a competition running in November to find the best talent and content from within the RichCast creator community.

    To register for the RichCast early access programme, students and educators should visit: www.RichCast.com.

    Philip Oliver, CEO at Panivox, said: “We want to inspire the next generation to create amazing interactive experiences. With RichCast we removed the technological barriers to entry, giving everyone the freedom of their imagination. This is such a great tool for education across so many subjects and has so much potential – we’re super excited to see how educators and students use it.”

    Dr Gina Jackson OBE, GameDev Bootcamps, said: “We are delighted to be working with the team at PANIVOX to make RichCast a live project for the Create Central’s Video Games Production Bootcamp. We have been able to take the platform and some of the games developed for RichCast and put them through audience validation testing with GoTestify, providing PANIVOX with some incredible user experience insights and the boot campers with the hands-on experience of working on this innovative voice-driven interactive entertainment platform.”

    Dr Mike Reddy PFHEA, Course Leader for the Computer Games Development degree at the University of South Wales, said: “The birth of a new genre of gaming is always an exciting time. RichCast, which allows for the creation of voice-controlled games, is being explored in both taught assessments and extra-curricular activities for our games programming students. The PANIVOX focus on voice moderated gameplay in RichCast is especially interesting, in providing a novel way to interact with narrative games design. We’re very keen to see what creative uses our students see in this new venture.”

    Rich Hebblewhite, Senior Lecturer in Computing at Wrexham Glyndwr University, said: “The ability to rapidly test and develop design ideas is a crucial part of the learning process, thus activities such as game jams and small indie projects are excellent ways of gaining experience. Panivox has lowered the technical development barriers to making interactive entertainment with RichCast and that is a huge step forward for writers and game designers. RichCast is ideal for rapid prototyping due to its easy-to-use interface and instant feedback design, making it a go-to solution for narrative heavy and audio rich products.”

    RichCast is currently free with the plan to add fair monetisation in 2022 to ensure content creators receive royalties for creating great experiences.

    To learn more about RichCast and register for Early Access visit www.RichCast.com

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