MRU Library Blog

Fun and Games in the Maker Studio Supports Entrepreneurial Goal

Left to right: Mitchell George, Cal New

 

Mitchell George and Cal New are self professed gamers. They love connecting with friends over elaborate board game nights or they may try out the newest video game. Ask them about the gaming industry and they will speak to the changing trends and direction it’s going towards with ease. Knowing this makes their current initiative of creating a custom board game they hope to manufacture an obvious next step.  

It doesn’t currently have a name but the duo has ironed out the general concept of their board game after New came up with the idea over a year ago. He quickly made his idea tangible by designing geometric game pieces with cardboard and pencil crayons. This helped to literally get the idea on paper but they needed a better quality prototype to be taken seriously and appeal to investors.

George, a 4th year Child Studies and Social Work student, had walked by the Maker Studio on the main floor of the MRU Library many times and finally decided to step inside and get an informal tour of the space. This helped him realize that all the tools he needed to create a professional version of his game were on campus.

”It was an opportunity to take this one step farther, there’s a difference between the plastic and the cardboard”, says George who used one of three 3D printers available to students, faculty and staff in the Maker Studio to create the latest prototype. “To be able to take that step and make your own game with an actual game board and pieces, it’s a dream for some. We now have a board game and it didn’t even take long. “

Mitchell and Cal’s original board game made of cardboard (left), and their most recent prototype made with a 3D printer in the Maker Studio (right)

 

New and George acknowledge they have a lot to learn and do before they can launch a Kickstarter campaign that will help them finish the design elements and initiate production, but 3D printing goods is a common initial step experienced entrepreneurs and the manufacturers take due to the technology’s accessibility.

“What you have here is absolutely the design process where you make your first prototype and then you iterate that into a different material,” explains Maker Studio Specialist Kerry Harmer while seated near the printer she helped George and New use to elevate their creation. “That’s the whole process of a makerspace, that is what 3D printing is for. You can test things out, it’s inexpensive, and it’s quick.”

George spends his days studying human behaviour as part of his degree and also works with a not-for-profit catered to at risk transient youth. Though he loves his work and student life, George admits it can be very taxing; bringing this game to life is a creative outlet he often seeks out when he needs a break. At heart he’s a storyteller with a background in filmmaking. He struggled to decide whether to dedicate his post secondary studies to film or working with children, but in the end he says he’s happy with his decision to pursue child studies and this board game has been a reminder of how he can use his passion to inform his studies and future career.

”My biggest release is art so I want to make the two disciplines work together”, says George. “Many of these youths are told their stories aren’t important. I advocate that they should tell their stories, whether that’s through making a board game, shooting a film, or writing a book.”

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