Video Game Development in the Classroom

19 07 2007 (originally posted on my blog)

I went to a fabulous workshop at necc07 held by Amanda Hefner and Caleb Gentry called Digital Game-Based Learning and Constructivist Technology Integration. Amanda presented using a program called GameMaker. Caleb taught us how to use a program called Game Factory 2.

They shared with us how students must use a whole-language approach for developing games. They must know how to write and develop a story. They have to use design and art skills. They need to use math, physics, and logic. Students learn how to trouble-shoot, diagnose, problem-solve, peer-review, collaborate and evaluate as they create and develop their own game.

According to the International Game Developers Association, (IGDA) it is a 9 billion dollar industry! I should have known that - my own children have had every kind of video game system that ever existed. We’ve spent more money on video game systems and video games for the computers than all toys ever purchased! The IGDA website is a wonderful resouce for anyone wanting to explore the gaming industry. It has a link to career paths, developer profiles, and even a list of resources.

The Entertainment Software Association has a very interesting report out called “2007 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry.” It gives all kinds of cool stats - like the average game player age is 33.

An interesting, but older article (2005) is “Working So Others Can Play: Jobs in Video Game Development” by Olivia Crosby. She describes the different types of role that a developer could have.

A couple of more resources are: http://www.texasgames.net and http://www.gamasutra.com/

The workshop was very enlightening. We currently have a CISCO networking program at our career tech school. A gaming development career pathway might be a good addition to our career school. It would be a natural progression to a computer science, programming or systems development degree.