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CCCC Game Programming and Design credential—Our Experience thus Far PowerPoint Presentation
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CCCC Game Programming and Design credential—Our Experience thus Far

CCCC Game Programming and Design credential—Our Experience thus Far

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CCCC Game Programming and Design credential—Our Experience thus Far

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  1. CCCC Game Programming and Design credential—Our Experience thus Far Dr. Lewis Pulsipher Certificate devised by Bob Joyce and Mike Orsega Web site for this talk:

  2. My Goals Today • Our experiences with our game classes so far • What we did in our first game class • How our certificate is organized • Discuss the diversity of the industry—much more than video games • I am not going to talk about game programming per se -- nor about game engines etc.

  3. Who am I • Began playing commercial wargames in 1963 • Played the original Atari 2600 and have played some PC games heavily, but rarely play any video games these days; never owned a game console • Designer of five commercially-published board wargames; next one forthcoming this Fall (Britannia Second Edition) • Active designer of board and card games (playtesters solicited!) • Also working on boardgames for online play • My main job is teaching networking, Internet Tech

  4. CCCC’s Philosophy • Tom Sloper, Chris Crawford, others recommend well-rounded education for game industry workers • Techniques change very quickly, so why teach specific techniques? • We want people to understand games from the developer and manufacturer viewpoint, understand the industry, understand what makes games good • Consequently, we do not need many classes, but they must be game-specific, and we must make games

  5. Courses in the Certificate • CSC 192 Intro (“Topics” class) (2 credit hours) Fall • CSC 293 (“Topics” class) (3 credits) Spring • Students programming original games in DarkBasic • GRA 151 Graphics in Gaming (2 credits) Spring • Students programming games in Flash; this may change • CSC 285 Programming Project (3) Summer • Students programming a boardgame they designed in CSC 192 • CIS 115 Intro to Programming (3) non game-specific • CSC 134 C++ Programming (3) non game-specific • MontE Christman, the game programming instructor, is teaching DarkBasic programming Saturday

  6. “Intro to Gaming” • Two contact and credit hours; would be better with three or four contact hours • Two textbooks, one about game design, one about getting into the industry • Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on Game Design. New Riders; 1st edition (May 2003)  • Break Into The Game Industry: How to Get A Job Making Video Games by Ernest Adams. McGraw-Hill; 2003. • Students individually required to create preliminary design for a video game and write a “game treatment” for it • Students in groups required to design a prototype of a non-video game (board, card, etc.) • No programming required in this class

  7. Intro to Gaming--Goals • Make students aware that: • you cannot just take some classes and walk into a game industry job • most people making a living from games do not work on “Big-Time” off-the-shelf video games • programming is a small part of video game production • owing to supply and demand, game programming/ production is not a way to make much money • enthusiasm is required, but is just a start

  8. Intro to Gaming--Atmosphere • Essentially a literacy class, should be fun • Provide real-world examples whenever possible • Negotiation • Experience of designing published games • We did not play or look at video games • Students already familiar with the games • Not enough time • Possible legal/philosophical objections to “playing games” in class

  9. Gaming Community • Game and Computer Club • Play video games on the “big projector” • Playtest non-video games • Not required participation • As with all clubs at non-residential colleges, requires a high critical mass of number of students—at present even CCCC isn’t large enough

  10. Marketing • First time around: • Flyers in local game shop • College Web site • Night section offered, no signups • 10 people in day version, almost all of them were already students (or graduates) of our department • This Fall • Department Web site ( • Much recruiting in high school classes • Mailing and Information sessions three evenings in June

  11. Results of the Class • The programming-oriented students have continued to the next two classes • One of the boardgames produced was quite good, being played many times by the group, now being programmed for play on a computer • The computer game ideas tended to be quite derivative (sounded like lots of existing games), but that’s the nature of the entire video-game industry, little risk-taking

  12. Credential: “Making Games” • Bottom line for the credential: the students are making games, and pretty good ones at that • Fighter-plane (Space Invaders) type • Simple RPGs • Magical Arena boardgame now being programmed for computer play • I’ve thought seriously about taking this boardgame in hand to improve for commercial purposes • Download examples from • And they have something for their portfolio, not just a list of classes

  13. Video Games • Many types, for example: • “Big-time” video games (both console and PC) • Sold in Best Buy, Babbages, Staples, and the like • Very visible but only a part of the industry • Console and PC games are quite different • Con’t forget handhelds • Online games • Not the massively multiplayer games, the “other” online games • Some for a charge, some for advertising • Small games on other devices—cell phones, PDAs, etc.

  14. “Big-time” Video Games • Console games are very different from PC games • I used to say “computer games”; now I say “video games” • Console games are simpler, less “intellectual” • consoles are underpowered • consoles market to teens/ “Gen Y” • consoles lack keyboards • the buyers don’t want intellectual games • Attitudes toward PC games from console gamers • Would rather play on a console! • Console game sales of same game are much larger (say from 3-1 to 10-1 ratio)

  15. Non-video Games • Family boardgames • Board wargames • Traditional miniatures battles • Role-playing games (D&D etc.) • Specialized card game (CCG, TCG) • Specialized miniatures games (HeroClix) • Euro-style boardgames

  16. Family boardgames • Have a bad reputation among adults as most involve a lot of luck • Still sell much more than other kinds of boardgames • Examples: • Monopoly • Game of Life • Pachesi

  17. Board wargames • Conflict oriented strategic games, often historically based • 15,000 individual attendees each year at “Origins” convention (31st annual in Columbus OH, June 30-July 3, 2005) (includes non-video games of all kinds) • Tends to be the domain of middle-aged gamers these days • Examples: • Axis & Allies • Risk • Diplomacy • Britannia

  18. Traditional miniatures battles • Tactical table-top battle games • Mostly land-based • One inch miniatures most popular, but there are other scales • Painting and collecting usually as important as playing

  19. Role-playing Games • Original commercial success was D&D, 1973-4 • Dungeons and Dragons Third Edition hardcover book sales in the millions for the past five years • Many D&D related novels also published • Most major movie/book properties have an associated role-playing game • 50,000 person-days attendance at “GenCon”, Indianapolis, IN (next one August 05) • Currently downward trend in sales

  20. Specialized card games • Usually collectible cards • Short game play, lots of tournaments, rules change over time • These are the biggest moneymakers in the USA after big-time video games • Examples: • Magic: The Gathering • Poke-mon, Yu-Gi-Oh • Games for most major book/movie properties such as Lord of the Rings, Spiderman, Star Wars

  21. Specialized miniatures • Many are pre-painted, “collectibles” with a game attached • Examples: • Heroclix • Heroscape • WarHammer and related baroque Games Workshop games are a separate high-revenue hobby • have their own retail store • attractive to teenagers

  22. Euro-style boardgames • Especially popular in Germany, where families play boardgames together every week • Can sell over a million copies, comparable to most PC games • “Family games on steroids” • Much more strategy, but still enough chance for the kids • Often somewhat abstract • A dislike of dice is very noticeable • Emphasis on appearance and tactile satisfaction • Examples • Settlers of Catan • Ticket to Ride

  23. Some Observations • The current generation (“Y” or “millenial”—up to 25 or 26 years old) really is different from earlier generations • It is hard for many of them to understand that they need to work at finding a place in the industry—it won’t “just happen” even if they are skilled programmers • Many tend to rely on trial and error, which is how they’ve learned to play video games • They are disinclined to read, preferring to see or hear (via computer, usually) • Prensky’s “Digital Natives” idea