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Game Studies: Rolling Your Own Issues, Trends, & Lessons Learned.

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Presentation on theme: "Game Studies: Rolling Your Own Issues, Trends, & Lessons Learned."— Presentation transcript:

1 Game Studies: Rolling Your Own Issues, Trends, & Lessons Learned

2 Talk Overview  Background  Early Programs  Curriculum  Program Design  Current Issues  Emerging Truths  Future Directions

3 Game Studies Background

4  Me 1991: Computer Science 1995: Interactive Narrative 1997: Graduate Studies: AI 1999: AI & Video Games 2000: IGDA Education Committee Detailed Game Studies Curriculum Education Summit: 2002, 2003 Bibliography (in progress)

5 Background  Games 1962: Spacewar for the DEC PDP-1 1972: Pong, Magnivox Odessy 1985: Nintendo 1990: 3D (First Person Shooters) 2000: Games = $$$  Over 30 million consoles in homes  Over 20 million PC gamers

6 Background  Game Studies J. Huizinga  Homo Ludens E. Avedon & R. Sutton Smith:  The Study of Games,  The Ambiguity of Play S. Sackson  A Gamut of Games

7 Background  Game Studies H. Jenkins & J. Cassell  From Barbie to Mortal Combat R. Rouse  Game Design, Theory and Practice

8 Game Studies Early Programs

9  MIT Comparative Media Studies  1984: Film & Media Studies Concentration  1998: CMS graduate program  2001: Jenkins & MS Research Games to Teach  Fall 2003: Full Undergrad Major in CMS Humanistic Focus “Increasingly CMS courses are designed to teach students about the forms of media, as well as the text.”

10 Early Programs  CMU Entertainment Technology Center  Randy Pausch & Don Marinelli  1999: Pilot Class – 8 seniors  25 new students per year, 50 total  2 year Masters program (MET) Focus on Placement  Industrial Light and Magic (ILM),  Angel Studios  Universal Studios  MERL: Mitsubishi Electric Research Lab.

11 Early Programs  Most Major Universities Game Courses in CS Departments Video games in the Humanities  Sociology of Games  Gender Studies  Game Violence  Children and Play  Education

12 Game Studies Curriculum

13  2000: IGDA Education Committee Panel of Academics & Developers Goals  Bridge gap between communities  Create opportunities for communication and collaboration  Create a unified curriculum for Game Studies Programs

14 Curriculum  2000: IGDA Education Committee Panel of Academics & Developers Goals  Bridge gap between communities  Create opportunities for communication and collaboration  Create a unified curriculum for Game Studies Programs  HARDER THAN WE EXPECTED

15 Curriculum  Many different flavors of Institution, Goals & Concerns  Curriculum Framework Overview of the Field Details on each Discipline Outline Several Possible Careers Guide Program Designs

16 Curriculum  Many different flavors of Institution, Goals & Concerns  Curriculum Framework Overview of the Field Details on each Discipline Outline Several Possible Careers Guide Program Designs  NOT DICTATING FORM/CONTENT

17 Game Studies Curriculum: Core Topics

18  Ten Topics Three Major Areas  Humanistic Study  Game Technology  Game Business Overview follows  Details in online document

19 Curriculum: Core Topics  Humanistic Study: Critical Game Studies  Criticism, Analysis and History of electronic and non-electronic games Games and Society  Understanding how games reflect and construct individuals and groups

20 Curriculum : Core Topics  Technical Study Game Design Game Programming Visual Design Audio Design Interactive Storytelling

21 Curriculum: Core Topics  Process & Management Game Production  Practical challenges of managing the development of games Game Business  Economic, legal and policy aspects of games

22 Game Studies Curriculum: Career Paths

23  Scholarly/Academic Game Studies Scholar/Educator Game Technology Educator Game Journalist  Applied Game Artist/Programmer Game Designer Game Producer

24 Curriculum: Career Paths  Game Studies Scholar and Educator Trained in History, Analysis, Criticism Experienced Gamer  Knows Genres, Designs  Understands Technology Familiar with Industry  Understands Dev. Process  Knows gist of Business & Legal

25 Curriculum: Career Paths  Game Technology Educator Trained in Design and Development Experienced Programmer  Knows Mechanics, Dynamics  Hardware Strengths & Limitations Emphasizes Good Process  Software Dev. Best & Worst Practices  Group Work, Creativity Management

26 Curriculum: Career Paths  Game Journalist Trained in Design, Analysis, Criticism Expert Communicator Investigator of Game Culture  Non-Digital, PC, Console, Online  Visual Aesthetics, Narrative Theory  Social Issues (Gender, Violence)  Technical trends, research, novel implementations

27 Curriculum: Career Paths  Game Programmer/Artist Trained in Design, Analysis, Tech Experienced Procedural Thinker Specialization Expert  Graphics Programming  Audio Design & Implementation  Concept Art, 3D design & Rendering  Level Design and Game Mechanics  Character Design, Behavior, Artificial Intelligence

28 Curriculum: Career Paths  Game Designer Trained in Design, Analysis, Tech Experienced Procedural Thinker Expert Communicator  Narrative and Experience goals  Visual & Audio Aesthetics  Practical Nuts & Bolts Example: Thief

29 Curriculum: Career Paths  Game Producer Trained in Biz & Management Experienced Procedural Thinker Expert Communicator  Team structure and goals  Time, Budget and Design constraints  Markets, Promotion, Publication  Legal issues

30 Curriculum: Our Bias  Universal Skills

31 Curriculum: Our Bias  Universal Skills Procedural Thinking

32 Curriculum: Our Bias  Universal Skills Procedural Thinking Communication

33 Curriculum: Our Bias  Universal Skills Procedural Thinking Communication Group Work

34 Curriculum: Our Bias  Universal Skills Procedural Thinking Communication Group Work Creativity

35 Curriculum: Our Bias  Universal Skills Procedural Thinking Communication Group Work Creativity Flexibility

36 Curriculum: Our Bias  Universal Skills Procedural Thinking Communication Group Work Creativity Flexibility Curiosity

37 Curriculum: Our Bias  Universal Skills Procedural Thinking Communication Group Work Creativity Flexibility Curiosity  Will Wright:city planning, ants and people

38 Game Studies Program Design

39  Major Considerations Foundation: Your Institution Scope: Your Program Roots: Your Core Instructors Focus: Your Methodology Relationships: Your Allies

40 Program Design  Foundation University, College, Vocational?  Collection of Schools or Disciplines Working together to create a “tent”  Finding instructors  Funding your efforts  Advertising to students  Advertising to the rest of the world

41 Program Design  Scope Course, Concentration, Certificate, Major or Advanced Degree?  Strengths & Weaknesses Numbers: Where is the labor? Expertise: Where is the know-how? Fame: Where will it shine? Buy-in: Who wants it?  Critical Mass Pilot courses, Student Groups

42 Program Design  Roots Technical: Computer Science, Material Sciences, Engineering Humanistic: Media Studies, Cultural Theory, Sociology, Psychology Fine Art: Art Theory and Practice, Design, RTVF, Animation and Film

43 Program Design  Focus How to teach the material  Methods of Analysis and Critique What to teach with  Software, Hardware, Bibliography Finally, What to teach  Fundamentals of Design  Basics of Implementation  Production, Biz, Legal

44 Program Design  Relationships Inter-departmental Local Universities Local Industry & Alumnae Major Publishers DARPA, NSF, NEH, NEA

45 Game Studies Current Issues

46  IGDA Academic Summit 2003 Game Developers Conference Working Meeting 140 Academics, 10 Developers Global interest Several approaches shared and discussed – all available on line.

47 Current Issues  Major topics: Highlights Attracting & integrating developers into the classroom Facilitating exchange between departments & disciplines Structuring & funding conferences, journals, and on-line resources Facilitating tech transfer, sharing of dev. tools & information

48 Current Issues  Major themes Procedural Literacy DIY: “Change your attitude, not theirs” Leveraging current academic funding and publication structures Avoid “bleeding edge” technology  Modify existing tech/games  Look for low-hanging fruit Bruce Gooch & NPR

49 Game Studies Emerging Truths

50  Academic Integrated programs  Leverage strengths  Promote collaboration between groups and departments Georgia Tech – Hodges, Mateas Relationships with developers  Assets (code, art, designs)  Time (not money)

51 Emerging Truths  Industry Research  Important  difficult on tight budgets and schedules Internships  can be valuable and cost effective Standardized vocabulary = essential  Discussing skills, careers  Critiquing games themselves  Critical to the success of collaboration

52 Game Studies Future Directions

53  Technology Recent: Online Gaming Next: Wireless Soon: Next Generation Consoles ???: Convergence

54 Future Directions  Markets Women  girls, ladies, grandmas Baby Boomers Communities of Creation Matchmaking and other services

55 Future Directions  Culture Trans-media  crossovers, sequels Connectivity  SMS, GPS and Persistence Identity and Representation:  Avatars, Gender, Sexuality and Age

56 For More Information  Resources www.igda.org www.gamasutra.com  Journalism www.edgeonline.com www.gamegirladvance.com

57 Contact Information Robin Hunicke hunicke@cs.northwestern.edu www.cs.northwestern.edu/~hunicke/ www.cs.northwestern.edu/groups/ieg/


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