Long Over Due Catch Up

I know I don’t update this blog as often as I should. And that is one of the targets I have set myself for the coming year.
So what has been happening?

Well as anyone will in education will tell you it is a very time consuming job. Preparing lessons, marking etc have been taking up a lot of my time (hence the lack of posts).

But it’s not all been all work and no play.

Over the Summer my friend and I started going to a weekly Indie Developer meet up in Cambridge. We have been to about 5 or 6 so far I think, and they have been inspiring, educational, and very productive in making contacts.

If you remember one of the things I moaned about was the lack of support from the industry in coming in to speak to the students. Well one of the great things to come out of meeting indie developers is that I now have two developers prepared to come in and talk to the students, and possibly a third. So I am really happy with that.

We also have a new Curriculum Team Manager, who apart from being really good, has some contacts with Code Masters, which we are hoping to use to inspire our students.

So on the industry link side things are really starting to look up, light at the end of the tunnel so to speak. Heck we are even being encourage to get out with the students, so looking at one or two of the gaming shows next year.

I’ve come across some great books on game design, and I will write about those in future posts.

EDXCEL were advertising for people to update their course units. Which some of them really need doing. One or two of the criteria are pretty pointless. And when it comes to the game design and game production I think they need an overhaul. For me the theory part of the game production on social impact of games, game genres, and the psychological bit needs to me removed from the unit. They strike me as being there because they need a theory bit to the unit. Which I think is pointless, I’d prefer if they had to have a theory bit to this unit that they discuss game engines, or mechanics.
The psychological side which covers how games get players to play their games. This I think would be better to have in the game design unit, it is a more natural fit, if you have to have it at all. The game genres should be, and is covered in game design already. Finally although interesting, and a great source of debate and discussion, just drop the social impact.

Oh we also have two software dev groups on the first year of our BTEC National Extended Diploma this year. The software dev stream has been very popular this year. The software dev stream is where we do the game related stuff, like game design, and game production. I’m hoping we can keep this popularity up with the new applications for the 2013/2014 start (we start interviewing for that in January). I think where I work has a big advantage over other local colleges, and 6th Form schools with the industry experience we have in the department. For example I have 18 years experience as a C programmer behind me in a variety of industrial sectors, and a passion for video games (I’ve grown up with them over 30 years). My colleague who teaches web, has several years in industry as a web developer behind him, and so on. And this expertise and experience gets passed on in the classroom.

So after that little sales pitch I’ll end this catch up post, and also promise to post on a more regular basis.


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