GDCE 2004 - Academic Day- archive

Courses & Training for the Games Industry

Dr John H Purdy - University of Hull. Gonzalo Frasca - Centre of Computer Games Research in Denmark. Mathew Southern - Evolution Games.

This was an interesting panel based discussion about course for the games industry.

Some points:

  • John Purdy talked about how 80% of graduates from his post graduate course got jobs in the games industry
  • There are probably as many professional footballers in the UK as there are games developers - students should not be told they will get a job in games at the end. There are very few jobs for games designers.
  • University can help but you must have passion
  • From Industry:
    • Must be educated to at least degree level nowadays
    • Programmers must understand the art process as well
    • Teamwork must be encouraged. Working together on projects.
    • Producers are needed
    • Polygon counts for artists is becoming less of a issue instead procedural methods will take over
    • Courses must have a relationship with the industry
    • Students - please stop making first person shooters, there is only one Carmack
  • Do not become a games programmer for financial or security reasons - you are there because you want to be a games programmer - who would be in the SAS for money?

The debate was opened up to the floor. One person who was doing a computer science degree asked how he could find the time to develop his games programming skills when he was doing his other work and doing a lot of sport. The general response was that if he really wanted to be a games programmer he would make the time!

A student from Teesside said he was doing a specific undergraduate games programming degree and did the panel think that was better than doing a computer science degree. The response was that in a lot of cases no but in the case of Teesside yes because Teesside has a lot of connections with the industry and a well though of course.

What effects should games have on brain & body?

This was a presentation of research into the psychological and physiological impact of playing computer games and how the results could be used to profile games and predict market success. The first research was quite old, it was the one that hit the headlines as it showed more people knew who Lara Croft was than politicians etc. The second research findings were new. Some points

  • Playing a game does not make you happy if you lose. A game does alert and activate you though
  • In cognitive function tests with the small test group, it was found that with 100% of subjects the speed of completion went up.
  • It is much like playing football or rugby. If you lose, you feel rubbish but still elated.
  • Playing a game puts you into an altered state (measured using a skull cap). It's like a runner's high, where sports athletes are aware they are doing well.
  • They not sure what they are doing, but they know they are functioning at their peak.

A fuller report on this talk can be found in a BBC article.

© 2004-2009 Keith Ditchburn  (A lecturer on the Games Programming Course at the University of Teesside)