David Braben Makes My Blood Boil #Brabenyousuck


I was reading the June/July issue of Games Developer magazine when I came across a news piece about the Raspberry Pi from gaming legend David Braben.

I’ll come back to discussing the Raspberry Pi at a later date (especially if I can get my hands on one). What I really want to talk about in this post is something that David was quoted as saying in the article.

And I quote:

“Braben says he became “very upset” at the dwindling number of applicants to his games company Frontier Developments showing up with computer science bona fides.

Braben lays the blame squarely with teaching methods that stress an “office skills” approach to learning about computers.”

Reading this got my blood boiling. Braben talks a good fight, and this little “project” of his is an excellent idea. BUT when my best friend and former work colleague Jamie approached Braben and his company about coming and talking to students on our BTEC courses studying software development (and in particular video game programming) he was greeted by a wall of silence (ie no reply at all).

To some degree I agree with what he is saying, he has a valid point. It’s just a shame that when given a chance to either come along himself or send a suitable employee to inspire the next generation of game developers/programmers, he doesn’t.

So while Braben talks big to the media, and does nice presentations to educationalists at conventions about using games in education. To me his words are hollow, and his actions just don’t back him up.

But this wall of silence is something I am finding I am coming across a lot in the industry. I’ve approached three or four video games companies in the UK to see if I can get some working professionals to come along and talk to the students about video game development.

The lack of response is incredible. Maybe it’s because we are not a University but a college of further education. But the students I am teaching are working on BTEC Nationals, from here they go on to University to study. A few even go on to do video game degrees.

Maybe it’s because we are located in that out of the way place of North Cambridgeshire (although this is not a problem for Braben as we are about 40 minutes away from him). And I have no budget for doing this, although I can provide (at my own expense) coffee and cake.

Because I want the best for my students, and want them to go on inspired to achieve in the industry I will keep plugging away in the hope that one day I may get lucky.

But next time one of these big names speaks out moaning about the education of future programmers, just ask them “when was the last time you gave some time to talk to the students to inspire them?”

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One Response to “David Braben Makes My Blood Boil #Brabenyousuck”

  1. lg1992 Says:

    As a person going to a video games degree i would have loved to have had a talk with someone in the industry as they would have been able to give me valuable information for what i love doing and how i could appeal to the industry more, but it seems that the industry is forgetting about the people who are in the further education system wanting to develop video games and can not and with the new Tuition fees being brought in from 2012 onwards the less likely that these people would actually want to follow their dreams. The gaming industry has many different ways of attracting young fresh talent but they do not want to share the pathways of how to get into the industry, leaving talent confused, university is only one of the ways to get to the games industry and even that alone is not enough! These people need to know exactly what the games industry is like and what the game industry wants and by talking to more than just university students you could really inspire a new generation of budding game developers but instead with due to lack of inspiration from the industry so many would love to be involved in, the numbers will continue to “dwindle”

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