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gerardon

Help searched to develop curricula for a school for videogamers

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Hi
I'm a all-rounder innovator with the crazy idea to create a high school for children between 15 and 17 years old. We have already a school for children till 12 y.o. that focusses on developing their creativity. I am loaded with the development of the high school. But I don't know enough about designing videogames to develop a curricula. Are there some people interested in formal education that want to help me with this job? What does a boy or girl that wants to develop their creativity into the videogames world needs to know from scratch? What should the first steps be? how can we form a young game-developer that later can turn to be a professional? Do you know some cases of schools that do this job already? We are settled in Panama (the country). Please, let me know if there are some inspirated educators among you that want to be part of this adventure. Tnx

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Personally I worry that any replacement of a general education with specific video game courses is a bad idea. I get a number of leaflets through my door aimed at the general public advertising 'game careers and courses' but to me this is capitalizing on the naivity of youngsters, and cynically an attempt to make a quick buck out of them rather than offer any kind of realistic prospects.

In terms of jobs, having more general degrees such as computer science, maths, or art is often looked upon more favourably then game specific 'qualifications'. Game technology changes very rapidly and what you learn in a specific course may be outdated and useless in a few years, whereas good grounding in core subjects is less likely to become outdated. The other thing of course is that realistically there are not viable jobs available for 99% of these candidates - you are selling a lie. It's like kids growing up thinking that becoming a professional footballer is a viable career choice. And even among those who go into game development, many will move on career wise into other areas as they get older, start a family etc, by which time any 'game specific' education will be largely useless, and place them at a disadvantage against other candidates with more traditional education.

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Dear Lawnjelly

The last sort of comments I expected to read in a forum of gamedevs is one like yours.

First, I find it rather offensive to call me a lier when you have no clue about what the educational program I am developing includes.

Second, because I think that you have a very limited understanding of what gamedev means for the cognitive, artistic, sensitive, professional and intelectual development of a younger means.

In order to become a good gamedev you have to learn a lot about artistic and creative disicplines: music, 3D design, illustration in many different techniques, drawing, photography, digital animation, creative direction, storytelling, scriptwriting, psychology, 3D modeling, 2D and 3D ANimation, prototyping, modeling with ceramics, video production and edition, vectoring and many other artistic disciplines and techniques which never get outdated, because since the mighty Old Greeks, those are the fundaments of uniersal arts. Not to mention 3D printing, programming in different languages, robotics and similar.

Then, you have to learn project management, how to lead a high performance team, finances, administration  and, most important, entrepreneurship.

Then you have to learn about marketing, sales, branding, networking and, of course, have a deep understanding of how an industry that generates billions of dollars and generates work for thousends of persons all around the world works.

And then, of course, comes the understanding of the software, which, I agree with you, becomes obsolete very quick and it's not the main focus of my propossal.

Work possibilities for the youngsters? We are in the dawn of the so called Fourth Industrial Revolution, marked by a new relationship between humans and machines, and where AI takes a prominent role.

The concepts and techniques used for videogames as entertainment are essential in the new ways people can be educated. We do not need to dissect a human body anymore in order to learn medicine: 3D simulation and interactivity provides all we need to know in order to become excelent doctors... and it applyes for many different activities which are now analogical and will be digitalized. And to dissect a digital human body is, as you may agree with me, a sort of videogame...

Last but not least, I would advise you to read about constructivist pedagogy. Then you may understand some of the possibilities that gamedev has in order to adequately prepare the youngers for the new world we are going in.

So, Sir, as you see, the world is much wider and richer than the leaflets that you get through your door. Be careful that the 4th Industrial Revolution does not passes through your life without you knowing it.

Greetings.

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I wouldn't call you a liar, you clearly believe in your project and your heart is in the right place. :) I would just put forward the question whether youngsters are better having an education centred around video game development, or having this as an extra topic in addition to their general development.

Maybe you could get the views of a few people that hire and those that run their own business, there's quite a few here that do interviews (as have I in the past). The view that a general degree such as computer science or maths may be better career choice than something game specific is quite common.

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10 hours ago, gerardon said:

I'm a all-rounder innovator with the crazy idea to create a high school for children between 15 and 17 years old. We have already a school for children till 12 y.o. that focusses on developing their creativity. I am loaded with the development of the high school.

I'm wondering if there's a miscommunication about what you're trying to do. Are you trying to put together a school that focuses entirely on game development or just one class in a school that already runs other classes?

In any case, use this site's search feature and search for "Gameteacher". He was another user on this site that was trying to put together a class and perhaps some of the old conversations may be useful for you.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, gerardon said:

In order to become a good gamedev you have to learn a lot about artistic and creative disicplines: music, 3D design, illustration in many different techniques, drawing, photography, digital animation, creative direction, storytelling, scriptwriting, psychology, 3D modeling, 2D and 3D ANimation, prototyping, modeling with ceramics, video production and edition, vectoring and many other artistic disciplines and techniques which never get outdated, because since the mighty Old Greeks, those are the fundaments of uniersal arts. Not to mention 3D printing, programming in different languages, robotics and similar.

All of this between 15 and 17, or starting at that age and lasting 4-5 years?

In any case it's too much. Gamedevs are usually specialized to one or two of those fields. Do you want to let them select the fields, or should they learn just a bit of everyting?

2 hours ago, gerardon said:

The last sort of comments I expected to read in a forum of gamedevs is one like yours.

I totally expected this comment and i second it - it's realistic and honest. But it depends on your answers of above questions...

Edited by JoeJ

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OK. Thank you for all the reactions. First of all, my excuses if I sound a bit annoyed, but literally lawnjelly you wrote (I quote) "you are selling a lie" which it sounds to me "you are a lier"... But, indeed, I am a passionate man with many years of educational experience in innovative processes related to arts and cultura (creative industries it's called now) and I beleave that it's time to move on in the issues we are offering to the youngers.

Regarding Joej, and thank you for your comment. My perception is that in this early stage of formation it is appropriate to form an all-rounder that can have a 360º view of the industry and later can choose which way to go. For the good understanding: what I am developing is a high-school learning propossal, intended for young people between 15 and 17/18 years old that afterwords will go to the university. They can then choose between enginering, arts, business, whatever. But I want to prepare them offering choices. 

How I think to achieve this? Because our pedagogy is based on projects and competencies. Already when they are at 1st. grade (ages 6-7) they learn based on projects. We do not have the regular asignatures scheme, but the teachers team integrate all the concepts corresponding to that age into 2-months projects that the children have to accomplish. They are stimulated to do research, and mainly to be the head actors of their own educational process. They do no repeat wor by word what the teacher has to teach, but they make their own choices within the restrains of the curricula, which is by the way approved by the Ministry of Education of Panama. So, thinking forward, the next step is to provide them tools and concepts within the digital animation and videogames industry, where they can apply the way how they learn and solve problems into this amazing industry. 

It may sound a bit unrealistic, but it depends on which educational perspective you apply. Traditional, asignatures and memoristic schol which we all have done, is outdated. We have to prepare the next generations for the challenges to come. ANd that's my call...

So, all this said, what I would like to get advice is on what can be an adequated "journey" for a young person who is interested in entering in this world.

As Launjelly said, I am looking here for people with tons of experience developing this industry which I can interview and get advice from the practice. I believe that the people are gathered in this Forum are the ones that make the industry wrok. If you beleave that I am in the wrong place, please, let me know. Thank you for your atention and advice.

Cheers

 

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8 hours ago, lawnjelly said:

Personally I worry that any replacement of a general education with specific video game courses is a bad idea. I get a number of leaflets through my door aimed at the general public advertising 'game careers and courses' but to me this is capitalizing on the naivity of youngsters, and cynically an attempt to make a quick buck out of them rather than offer any kind of realistic prospects.

In terms of jobs, having more general degrees such as computer science, maths, or art is often looked upon more favourably then game specific 'qualifications'. Game technology changes very rapidly and what you learn in a specific course may be outdated and useless in a few years, whereas good grounding in core subjects is less likely to become outdated. The other thing of course is that realistically there are not viable jobs available for 99% of these candidates - you are selling a lie. It's like kids growing up thinking that becoming a professional footballer is a viable career choice. And even among those who go into game development, many will move on career wise into other areas as they get older, start a family etc, by which time any 'game specific' education will be largely useless, and place them at a disadvantage against other candidates with more traditional education.

While I agree with 99% of what you say, I was a software engineer intern at Ludia and there were adults interns with me that were taking a one year college cursus for video game (gameplay) programming. It is a public cursus for a single college with its audience being adults who want to completely change their jobs. Sure, I was a better programmer than them. However, they did fill the role of "technicians" and gameplay programmers, which don't require as much knowledge as engine programmers, due to the fact that there are now huge engines like Unity and Unreal Engine. Just as the guy is saying, this cursus was really practical because experts from the video game industry were teachers. Nonetheless, I wouldn't recommend it. It's not viable on the long term.

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12 hours ago, gerardon said:

 

Hi
I'm a all-rounder innovator with the crazy idea to create a high school for children between 15 and 17 years old. We have already a school for children till 12 y.o. that focusses on developing their creativity. I am loaded with the development of the high school. But I don't know enough about designing videogames to develop a curricula. Are there some people interested in formal education that want to help me with this job? What does a boy or girl that wants to develop their creativity into the videogames world needs to know from scratch? What should the first steps be? how can we form a young game-developer that later can turn to be a professional? Do you know some cases of schools that do this job already? We are settled in Panama (the country). Please, let me know if there are some inspirated educators among you that want to be part of this adventure. Tnx

Hi @gerardon welcome to the forums. :)

Are you talking about making a class/'es' within high school that caters to game development? I think it's a great idea as an optional class, heck we have classes like drama, dance, sewing, general programming, and so forth, why not game development? (I might be wrong but I think there are game development optional classes in some schools, I remember reading about it somewhere but cannot remember fully...)

If you're talking about a high-school devoted to game development as a whole, then no, I wouldn't support this idea as I find it counter-productive. It's very important to maintain the core academic subjects. What if those students change their path in life? You see this all the time in college where students really don't know what they want to do in life.

8 hours ago, lawnjelly said:

I get a number of leaflets through my door aimed at the general public advertising 'game careers and courses' but to me this is capitalizing on the naivity of youngsters, and cynically an attempt to make a quick buck out of them rather than offer any kind of realistic prospects.

Several of my friends bought into these programs and after they "graduated" employers were still looking for Computer Science degrees as they had no working experience and portfolios. The issue is that they all are under this impression that after finishing this "course" or "program" they will be able to apply to any studio and start their career out of the gate which is far from the truth...

 

3 hours ago, gerardon said:

In order to become a good gamedev you have to learn a lot about artistic and creative disicplines: music, 3D design, illustration in many different techniques, drawing, photography, digital animation, creative direction, storytelling, scriptwriting, psychology, 3D modeling, 2D and 3D ANimation, prototyping, modeling with ceramics, video production and edition, vectoring and many other artistic disciplines and techniques

I don't agree with this... Teams are built with people who usually have a specialization, and depending on the studio size they may work in multiple fields. I would never expect the story writer to have any understanding of programming, or the 2D artist to understand audio engineering, ect... Yes, some fields need to have general understanding, but it's not applicable across the board. There are people who are well versed in more than one field but when you're working for a company you're not going to be the butcher, baker, and candle stick maker. Again, smaller teams that consist of very talented people can have one person doing several things.

3 hours ago, gerardon said:

Then, you have to learn project management, how to lead a high performance team, finances, administration  and, most important, entrepreneurship.

Then you have to learn about marketing, sales, branding, networking and, of course, have a deep understanding of how an industry that generates billions of dollars and generates work for thousends of persons all around the world works.

Again, this isn't how it works in the real world.

 

2 hours ago, lawnjelly said:

Maybe you could get the views of a few people that hire and those that run their own business, there's quite a few here that do interviews (as have I in the past). The view that a general degree such as computer science or maths may be better career choice than something game specific is quite common.

As a business owner myself if I'm going to hire a programmer who has zero track record, I want someone with a computer science degree, not some generalized certificate pertaining to game development because I want someone that knows programming... if I want an artist or a marketing specialist, I'll hire one with the relevant experience and/or education. I'm not a fan of these all in one degrees that claim to teach someone every aspect of game development; I find them very misleading when it comes to employment opportunities.

Just to add in my personal experience here. Apart from running companies outside of game development, and owning my own, I've programmed for 18+ years as my main specialization, but I've branched out as a 3D Artist and do some sound engineering work, but if I was placed on a team I would be there for my programming ability, nothing more... It took me a lot of time to get to the point where I'm at now, and even what I'm doing with 3D art... I couldn't imagine how many years I would need to be proficient in the many disciplines required in game development, including the business, and marketing side.

 

That being said, I'm all for adding in game development courses as optional classes in high schools. :) I think it's a great idea that will allow students to explore more potential career paths.

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Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, gerardon said:

We have to prepare the next generations for the challenges to come.

But this implies you could predict the future, how this '4th Industrial Revolution' will look like. I doubt anybody can do this. Many have visions, others have plans to utilize this to their advantage and tend to manipulation. We don't know who will profit from this future and how.

What we do know however is that game developemt is a business of very high risk, with a 90% chance of failure. We do know this from our own experience, so we don't want to lure kids to this business without a plan B. This is why you perceive our reactions as demotivating.

The point is, plan B has to work, not plan A. If i would own a company related to real world AI application or robotics, i would not hire somebody from a gamedev school, because those people are no experts in those fields. If i would own a game company, i would likely hire people with education in AI or robotics, if i see a need for it (which, at the moment is very rarely the case).

That's why i agree with lawnjelly, that all those fields are worth to learn of course, but i do not see a connection to game development that may be perceived inferior from other industries. (I could make similar examples for art or business)

This just said to motivate you to change some terminology at least, maybe make the 'game dev' more an internal, unoffical term.

Edited by JoeJ

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