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Cowboy Cave Postmortem on Game Career Guide

January 8, 2008

I offer a course at SCAD called Applied Game Design that simulates what it’s like to work in the game industry as accurately as I can. I hold the students to industry standards, cut no punches when it comes to critique and receive comments such as this on evaluation forms: “It nearly killed me, and I loved it.” Of course, I could say the same about the higher math classes I took at college. As a prof, it is easily my most demanding class, both on me and on the students.

The goal is to give the students the real experience of game design. It’s somewhat of a tragedy in academia that many programs claim to teach game design, and actually end up teaching everything but that. Game design is, as I have said before, it’s own thing separate from art and programming, but integrally tied to the two when it comes to digital games. This course puts the process of design front and center, and its content comes from the 26 years I spent working full-time in the game industry. I believe the course is important both for the industry which needs entry level designers that actually understand industry standards and process of game design and for students who need to understand that coming up with a game design is a whole lot more work than just having a cool idea while driving to work.

Every quarter, I have a few students fall in love with the amazing process of design, and that’s worth all the time it takes to go through their buggy prototypes and initially messy designs. Through the process, the polish does arrive.

I encourage each team of students to write a postmortem for their project, and David McDonough, a grad student at SCAD, took me up on the offer. His article appears on Game Career Guide today: Cowboy Cave Postmortem.

Cowboy Cave

2 Comments leave one →
  1. kukulala permalink
    January 10, 2008 1:39 am

    Applied Game Design was easily the most enjoyable and worthwhile class I’ve ever taken at SCAD and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Don’t ever stop teaching it! Or even better – Applied Game Design 2. *cue chorus of angels* Working on Cowboy Cave really was, as the team would say, “Full Awesome”.

  2. fanciest45 permalink
    January 12, 2008 4:52 pm

    Cowboy Cave sounds amazing, it’s too bad that they’ve hit a wall of sorts with development now that their course is over. I can’t wait until I have a chance to take Applied Game Design this spring!

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