Back on Mar 1st, 2007, the Discovery Learning Center at Purdue announced a Games-to-Teach competition that would provide a $150,000 grant to a team composed of Purdue faculty to be used in the development of an on-line gaming based course for Purdue credit. Many teams submitted proposals for the first round of the competition. A review board sorted through all of the applications and twindled it down to a few they thought really had potential. One of them was an Aerospace and Aeronautics Engineering Professor who teaches AAE 251: Introduction to Aerospace Design, a course in which students get together in teams and throughout the semester learn about how planes and rockets are put together, and by the end of semester must present a design for one of them.
For the final submission, the professor contacted the Purdue Game Development Club about getting some game expertise on board. I was one of the few people actually in town (because it was summer by this time), and I responded. I jumped on board, reviewed their current 27 page proposal, explained to them how to cut out 17 pages of it, and then wrote 10 pages to go along with their newly trimmed document. We then submitted this new 20 page proposal and then waited.
As you have probably already guessed, our proposal was picked, so we got the $150,000 grant to develop this game over the course of two years. The professor offered me a paid graduate research assistant position to take the helm as the technical director. However, I have a family and while my wife has been more than patient in waiting for me to get my degree, I really needed to get a real job. So, I applied to a crap load of companies and scored a game designer position with Black Lantern Studios. I went back to the professor and explained to him that while I would love to do this, I needed a real job. He pleaded, but eventually conceded.
So, right now I'm working on finding him a replacement and in the meantime I'm doing some menial research work for him for a whopping $12/hr while I finish out the last few weeks of school. The crappy thing is that I won't get back paid for the work I did on the proposal that got him the grant. Oh well, I'll be moving onto bigger and better things.