Finlay has designs on game of tones

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An Oban teenager has designed a game that could revolutionise the way hairdressing students train.

When college lecturer Elaine Smith approached the Oban High School IT department looking for help in developing a game that would assist her students in remembering their colour codes, Finlay MacDonald needed no further prompting.

The 17-year-old had just started out on his games design module and was only to happy to help.

Finlay said: ‘I was absolutely delighted to take up this challenge. It didn’t really matter that I knew nothing about hairdressing as Elaine’s brief was perfect and I was able to work from that.

‘I took inspiration from other areas also – friends, family, games that I enjoyed and put it all together.’

Elaine came up with the idea of developing a game while she was teaching classes at the high school as part of her Skills for Work at Argyll College UHI.

‘I noticed that at break times the students were playing games on their phones and I thought it would be quite good if we could get something that meant they could be learning while they were playing their games,’ she explained.

‘It meant that they would be underpinning their knowledge in a fun, current and interactive way.

‘I was a bit cheeky really and went into the games design class to ask if anyone could develop my ideas into a game. It was fate really as Finlay was looking for something to work on.’

Once Finlay had expressed an interest in the project, the pair teamed up and, with the help of a mood board designed by Elaine, he got to work on the technical development process.

The resulting game is called DUCT (Debris Undergoing Colour Transformation) and can be used for both fun and as a learning resource.

The idea of the game is to blast the falling colour molecules with a weapon in the corresponding toning colour in order to neutralise it. In its current format, the game uses six primary and secondary colours but can be tweaked to include tertiary colours and bleaches and also to suit different nationalities.

Elaine, who also runs Spruce hairdessing salon on St John’s Street, is so pleased with the result that she has contacted Wella and John Frieda to see if they would be interested in using or promoting the game.

She will also be encouraging students who come into to her salon to use the app which will hopefully be available to download online in the very near future.

Finlay intends to continue pursuing a career in gaming and, once he has completed a maths course at college next year, will move onto games design.