Since it started on June 2021, #LevelAPP has been a learning experience for everyone involved. Especially for the apprentices in the program, who were able to see how much work goes into creating a game while also learning how to market and pitch their idea to potential investors.
Working on a project that’s the first of its kind in the region hasn’t been without its challenges. In its first run, #LevelAPP council members had to contend with a pandemic-related shutdown of schools and offices due to the Covid-19 outbreak. They also had to deal with apprentices dropping out of the program due to work schedule conflicts. Two teams of three people were originally going to participate in the project; one team dropped out while it was still in progress, followed by two more members from the remaining group. Those were some major setbacks.
Another challenge came when supertyphoon Odette hit Central Visayas in December of 2021, which left the region without electrical power for two months. The members had to pause all activities, and when the power started returning, there was a lot to keep up with while staying safe and healthy.
But they were able to turn these challenges into opportunities by finding new ways to work around them! For example: when apprentices dropped out, they tapped students from partner schools eager to learn and took advantage of their fresh perspective.
There are four apprentices in the program: Janyl Tanoy, an aspiring game producer with a background in production for tech-creative fields such as video, game development, and social events; Reina Bispo, an artist and anime fan; Kimberly Paraiso, also an artist and K-drama fan; and Ariane Villaremo, a game enthusiast who loves Rune Factory 4, Bravely Default 1 & 2 and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Although #LevelAPP met only some of its goals by the end of its first year, it has been able to accomplish a lot. The #LevelApp team has helped nurture the development of two mobile apps—a dystopian, fantasy, and horror visual novel app called ‘Project Eden’, an ongoing project by the apprentices and a Spartan Virtual Racing mobile app that partners from Valhalla Services Online are developing.
With the continued support from DOST-VII, the team is excited to see how this program will continue to evolve and see what other improvements they can make to better help the apprentices and more junior developers in the future.
#LevelAPP year one is powered by the Department of Science and Technology VII, and supported by Valhalla Online Services and QBO. The Level APP Project aims to provide support for youth who want to develop and bring their games to market.