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Why Study Game Development


'The market for games is so large that it has developed into a new ... You don't have to be paid to have work experience! Class work. Artwork. Small Flash games ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Why Study Game Development

Why Study Game Development?
  • by Deborah Solomon Professor, Computer
    Applications Department Montgomery
    College Rockville, Maryland www.studygaming.com

  • The time has come to take games seriously as
    an important new popular art shaping the
    aesthetic sensibility of the 21st century.
  • Professor Henry Jenkins, Director
  • MITs Center for Comparative Media Studies (New
    York Times, 10/14/2000)

Potential Benefits
  • Fun, fulfilling career-path
  • Get paid to play!
  • Well-paying and growing industry.
  • but…notorious overwork in some companies (EA)
  • Creative and technical skills
  • many career options (web, database, advertising,
    programming, multimedia, entertainment games,
    serious games, etc.).
  • Stay on cutting edge of technology (biotech,
    nanotech, gis, etc.)

BUT…. How to convince your parents?
You want to major in GAMING?!?
Studying Gaming Issues
  • Games are fun. Are they a serious career?
  • How to study gaming?
  • How to get a gaming job?

Issue 1
  • Games are fun are they really a serious field
    of study?

Games are serious BUSINE
  • The market for games is so large that it has
    developed into a new media marketplace… http//

Software Sales
Whos playing?
  • 60 of all Americans age six and older, or about
    145 million people, play computer and video
  • 35 of all Americans identified computer and
    video games as the most fun entertainment
    activity. That's more than television (18) and
    movies (11) combined! (IGDA, citing the IDSA)

Gaming Industry growth
  • The games industry is still growing faster
    than almost any technology business out there
    right now. (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • Games are also the fastest growing segment of
    the entertainment market, and an excellent field
    for career advancement. (IGDA)

Games, Simulations Serious Games
  • The possibilities today are starting to
    explode. The lines are starting to blur
    between games and simulations, between serious
    and fun. Just like in real life.
  • http//www.mondaymemo.net/001016feature.htm

Who is the biggest Purchaser/Developer of
Serious Games?
Serious Games US Military - Billions
  • Navy PC-based simulator for flight training
  • Marines commissioned a special version of Doom
    for combat training
  • Army Americas Army.
  • Pentagon uses simulations for disease outbreak

Serious Games Other Uses
  • FBI hostage negotiation (http//www.willinteractiv
  • Terrorism modeling
  • emergency response
  • Medical training
  • Corporate training
  • Advocacy
  • Advertising
  • Political campaigns
  • Education

Endless Possibilities!
Games as Art
  • Early games were also very simple graphically
    and narratively, and rather limited in subject
    matter. Since then, however, both graphics and
    storylines have improved, warranting more
    analysis and comment.
  • Greater complexity and depth give the video
    game designer more opportunity to embody a
    message, worldview, or philosophy into a game in
    the same way these elements can be incorporated
    into novels and films. The Cultural Study of
    Games, www.utexas.edu/utpress/excerpts/exwolmed.ht

Response to Issue 1
  • Games may be fun but they are also worthy of
    academic study
  • generating enormous revenue
  • providing serious training
  • an exciting new art form

How to Study Gaming?
  • Educational programs in game design and
    development can be found at new and established
    schools all over the world.
  • (IGDA, http//www.igda.org/breakingin/resource_sch

Issue 3 How to Study Gaming?
  • HOW?
  • Computer Science?
  • Computer Graphics?
  • Gaming Degree?
  • WHEN?
  • Undergrad?
  • Graduate?
  • Trade school?
  • On the job?

Gaming is interdisciplinary Not just programming
  • Web
  • Database,
  • Sound
  • Storytelling
  • Marketing
  • Art
  • and many other disciplines.
  • A highly specialized degree might be limited to
    CS or CG.
  • But a more comprehensive program might be

Survey of TX Game Companies Would you like to
see more students graduate with a specialized
degree in game design development from a
college or university?
Digital Game Forecast, 2/2004
Survey of TX Game Companies Do you think a
degree in gaming would better prepare students
for a gaming career than would traditional
academic studies?
Digital Game Forecast, 2/2004
Dont forget Soft Skills - Teamwork
  • The reality is that virtually all products are
    produced by teams, in a seamless merger between
    the artistic and technological aspects that
    requires cooperation by all team members.

Digital Game Forecast, 2/2004
Soft Skills Core Competencies for game industry
  • Ability to work well in teams
  • Strong communication skills
  • Problem-solving skills in an atmosphere of change
  • Basic knowledge of the roles and functions of the
    other team members
  • Knowledge of basic business skills such as
    budgeting, time management, and organization
  • Understanding of the nonlinear nature of a
    digital product
  • An enthusiasm for new techniques and tools.
  • Creativity in both new ideas and ways to
  • (Regan Associates 1999)

  • And of course…
  • Play Games!!

Issue 4 How to get a JOB in the Game
Career specialization (like web movies)
  • Then (1970s-1990s)
  • Websites developed maintained by single
  • Games developed by single person or small group
    of friends.

The early days…
  • In the early days of Atari video games were
    generally created by four people a hardware
    engineer, software engineer, mechanical designer
    (cabinet and controls) and a tech. (Owen Rubin
    quoted by http//www.gamearchive.com)

Industry Specialization (contd)
  • Now
  • Websites developed maintained by highly
    specialized teams.
  • Games are huge production spectacles with large
    teams like movies.
  • Like websites movies, game production now
    involves many different career paths.

Evolution of the industry
  • Over the past twenty-five years, games have
    evolved from black-and-white blips made by
    hobbyists into a complex multi-billion dollar
  • Over the past five years, interactive digital
    entertainment -- computer and video games, have
    made significant strides in developing immersive
    worlds, interactive story, massively multiplayer
    online communities, and tackling broader range of
    themes and human experience. http//cms.mit.edu/g

Evolution of the Industry (contd)
  • Developing computer games is now a complex
    process. A 3D computer game generally takes over
    12 months to produce and costs around 2.5
    million to produce.  ww.mscgames.com

Major Career paths
  • Audio music, sound effects, character noises,
    dialogue, etc.
  • Design game design, level design, storyboarders,
    animators, etc.
  • Production producers, testers, etc.
  • Programming web, console, wireless, database,
    AI, physics, etc.
  • Visual Arts character background design, etc.
  • Biz Misc administrators, marketers, support
    staff, etc. http//www.igda.org/breakingin/career

(See Table of game jobs)
Careers Web skills
  • Game developers increasingly need web skills
    whether to develop online advergames, to run
    massively multiplayer online games, or as the
    web site or community manager, who feeds the
    hungry fans and provides a forum for the game's
    players. http//www.igda.org/breakingin/path_biz.

Careers (contd) Web Skills
  • Game publishers are jumping online in droves.
    Some are releasing online-only, console-based
    games. Others increasingly offer video games with
    online features, such as special contests,
    updates, and additional downloadable characters.
  • Some 5 to 10 of all video games sold in 2002
    contain an online element, up from zero in 2001,
    estimates Cole. By year-end 2003, perhaps 20 of
    all video games sold will have online features…

How to get a job?
  • Portfolio!
  • Put portfolio online dont email huge files! ?
  • …so you need web skills
  • But how to get a portfolio?

You dont have to be paid to have work experience!
  • Class work
  • Artwork
  • Small Flash games
  • Mod projects
  • Programming samples
  • Have something working,
  • Use free editors that ship with games (Unreal,
    Neverwinter Nights, etc.) You dont have to be an
    artist! Use the games models! Games like
    Second Life make it easy to create and script

How to get a job? (contd)
  • Other kinds of gaming experience
  • Beta testing
  • Game Master to get customer support experience
    (p. 378)
  • Review games (p.388)

How to get a job? (contd)
  • Network (conferences, IGDA chapter, listservs
  • Internships
  • Gamestester.com
  • Check job sites to review skillsets
  • Gamasutra www.gamasutra.com -- job postings,
    industry info,and more
  • Gaming Jobs gamejobs.com

Where are the jobs?
  • West Coast CA (also film industry), WA
    (Microsoft, Nintendo)
  • Central Texas
  • East Coast Maryland!
  • Other states
  • Other countries Japan, S.Korea, Canada, France,
    UK, etc.
  • Dont forget the serious games industry!!
    (e-learning, government, military, medical, etc.)
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