The BFX Festival is a week-long event designed to celebrate visual effects, animation and games to inspire the next generation of talent and share the latest knowledge.
We first experienced the BFX Festival back in 2013 when it first launched and I firmly believe it contributed to Kian’s journey to study Games Design at university. Since then it has grown and moved locations and this year, the Family Weekend was held at the B.I.C.
BFX Family weekend is a two-day drop in event aimed at visual effects and games enthusiasts between the ages of 8-18 years, although there are things for all ages to enjoy, including talks and presentations, animation and coding workshops, the chance to try out the latest technology and even act against a green screen.
We pre-booked a couple of sessions and headed into Bournemouth on Sunday for our first workshop at 10.30 – Minecraft with Raspberry Pi.
Although aimed at children aged 8+, the age limit is very much dependant on the child’s ability and Eliza (7) got to join in too, with a little bit of help from me.
The kids started playing Minecraft and then got to try their hand at Python programming the game using a Raspberry Pi – a tiny and affordable computer used to learn programming.
The session was perfectly aimed at kids and they were soon adding extra’s to the game and the finale was getting to fly through it like Ice Man and receiving a certificate for completing the workshop.
Our next pre-booked workshop was not booked until lunchtime, so we had plenty of time to explore and see what else was happening around the site, including trying our hand at using some old computers, and games consoles.
The majority of the drop-in workshops were in Tregonwell Hall and the kids all had a blast trying everything out, with the green screens being a big hit, as they got to fly through the skies like Harry Potter on his broomstick…..
and a more technological version of hide and seek.
We also got to meet BUD, Bournemouth University’s very own droid!
I lost Eliza and Sebby to the stop animation workshop, where they created their own characters using plasticine and made their very own video using the equipment provided.
They worked on it for over an hour!!
Isaac on the other hand was waiting patiently for his turn on the VR Headset, which would give him a virtual reality tour of Avebury, a Neolithic henge monument containing three stone circles in Salisbury.
For younger children there were Simbrix, Stickbots and Bloxels tables to play at, as well as Bee-Bot robots, which introduce the idea of coding to younger children.
Our second booked workshop was the Micro:bit in Wonderland coding and craft workshop, which mixed coding with Alice in Wonderland crafts.
We had to use block-based coding with the BBC Micro:bit to make our own Mad Hatter’s top hat, a heart playing card and a little door with a lock and key, just like in the story of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’.
As the workshop was aimed at age 8+, Sebby and Eliza took charge of the crafting, whilst Isaac got to work on the computer.
We successfully managed to do all three coding tasks and the kids made a fabulous, if a bit wonky, Mad Hatters Hat!
They all came out very proud of what they had achieved.
Also at the BFX Festival was an AFC Bournemouth e-sports station, where you could play football on the big screen against your friends, 3D printing and Sebby’s favourite Paleo Go, Augmented Reality dinosaurs which he chased Isaac around the room with!
The BFX Festival is a fun day out for all the family and we are already looking forward to next years event. Keep an eye on bfxfestival.com for news and dates for next years event.