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gerardon

Help searched to develop curricula for a school for videogamers

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3 hours ago, gerardon said:

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.

You need to go on the journey yourself, before you can lead someone into that new territory. Make at least one game yourself, as your first step. GameMaker if you use Windows, GameSalad if you use Mac. 

Or design a board game. 

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I'm not really the guy to listen to, but you should listen to me anyway. Most replies are pretty good, and the first was one of the best, that is to say, the one you weren't expecting. and the one where you called the guy a liar.

I was expecting it. 100%.

I haven't really been in the business so to speak, but I have been around. If you want to be good at something, do that, not something you think is on the way to that. If you want to program games, program well, and get hired as a programmer.

Don't become a game tester.

Same for graphics, digital effects, AI, etc.

If you want to direct movies. do that. Don't become a grip. Unless of course, you want to be a grip.

Go to school too, if you can afford it. 

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Dear friends

Thank you very much for sharing you insights and for taking the time to discuss this issues with me. Believe, they are very useful.

Your comments puts me to think about the complexity of this subject and how should I redefine some issues. When you produce a movie, for instance, then you have all the different specializations in many directions: people specialized in script writing, others in casting, others in sound, light, acting, etc. etc. etc. But you have one character that binds them all: the producer. the one whom coordinates all this complexity. He or she is a generalist, not a specialist. Is somebody that deals with actors, directors, technicians, caterars, financiers, etc etc. That's the character that I want to teach how to do all those processes. In order to do this, he has to know how the process of making a videogame happens, but he/she doesn't needs to be an expert in videodev... Am I wrong thinking this way? Or should  throw this all idea away?

The experience I have developing software, making videos and being part of a movie's production team, is that there is allways a person that has the overview of all the processes, and has to know in advance the consequences of wrong decisions or delays. Because it has impact on the budget or the sales. A programmer is not necessarely concerned with those problems. He/she has to deliver his component in time, gets paid and his name will be at the end of the movie. 

And this person has to be very creative in many different ways. But, again, he/she needs to know how a videogame is developed from scratch. 

I want to thank you all because your comments have helped me to clarify my ideas. Like Tom Sloper said, those kids have to go on the journey and experience what it is to make a videogame, and that's why I still think that a specialization in new media (by the way, I am not thinking only on videogames, but it will include also digital animation, audiovisual and the related disciplines) should combine artistic, technical and managerial contents. Without forgeting the basics: maths, phisycs, history and so on. But, guys, did you see how the Khan Academy teaches maths together with Pixar? Please, take a look at it. Maths, history and so on can also be teached in an amusing and captivating way, like videogames are:

https://es.khanacademy.org/about/blog/post/127714217180/pixar-in-a-box-the-math-behind-the-movies

And, answering to the friend Joej, I can't peak into the future, but one thing I am sure: future will not be the same as the past. If you remember from history classes, around 18th Century mankind went from the Agricultural Age to the Industrial Age. And that was a hell of a change... Well, there are many thinkers around that agree that we are leaving now the INdustrial Age and entereing into something new, the Knowledge Age, the Digital Age, whatever... fact is that the most demanded jobs now, didn't exist merely 10 - 20 years ago (like what you are doing with gamedev). The smartphone that you have in your pocket now, is only 10-15 years old. And counting. 

SO, again, my main concern is how do we prepare the next generations for the changes that already are ocurring around us. Having a degree now is not the same as having a degree 15 years ago. We can not keep teaching like the way we were educated. Merely because the world in which the educational system was created, does not exist anymore. Please, look for TED talks of Ken Robinson, like> 

or 

I am sorry if I took you off the usual issues that you use to discuss in this forum, but, beleave me, it has been very enlighting for my search. ANd for that I am very thankful to you all. 

I would love to continue this discussion, guys. Please, send more comments. Bye for now.

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I takes science program during my high school years. In Thailand, there are 2 main programs (excluding international schools which provides programs similar to what foreign countries provide), which is Art program and Science program. In science program, the main courses are Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology.  These courses contains 2 2-hours classes for each week, including labs and stuffs.

I personally found Math and Physics very useful in my game developer career (which is very short, unfortunately). 

Mathematics classes includes things like Discreet Math, Calculus and Statistic. I didn't really uses Calculus a lot, but Discreet Math and Statistic are proven very useful. I believe that in the US they are separated courses though, can't say for any other country. 

Art programs focuses on Languages. There are program that includes Math (which is basically the same as what Science students studies) and English, and program that contains English and French. ... Anyway I think, literature that these people study might be pretty useful. 

Also, there are some high school that has a specific Science program for Architecture. It is not an Architecture class per se. It's more like a prep class for Architecture program in the university level. This program's main courses are Mathematics, Physics, and Technical Drawing I believe.

The reason I bring this up is, I think, for game designer program (at the high school level), it would be something similar to the Architecture program combined with Art, and of course a little bit of programming. 

So to summarize.... IMO, this program should contains subjects like:-

  • Discreet Math
  • Statistic
  • Physics
  • English (Literature ?)
  • Art (Drawing? Fine Art ? Music ?)
  • Programming
  • Game Design

Sounds like a lot, but some of them can be selective course.

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4 hours ago, gerardon said:

But you have one character that binds them all: the producer. the one whom coordinates all this complexity. He or she is a generalist, not a specialist. Is somebody that deals with actors, directors, technicians, caterars, financiers, etc etc. That's the character that I want to teach how to do all those processes. In order to do this, he has to know how the process of making a videogame happens, but he/she doesn't needs to be an expert in videodev... Am I wrong thinking this way? Or should  throw this all idea away?

I don't think it makes sense to educate towards producers. There are not so much studios in the world, and each of them have only a very small number of people in this role. Likely those people started out as programmers, artists or from business. They work their way up, learn by doing, turn out to be good leaders, they become producers - no need to teach people towards this, it just happens automatically.

What is needed is specialized skill in just one of the fields. A bit of everything is worth nothing. You already said university comes after, but this issue remains, because we do not want to waste the time before university.

As you mention history and future, we see a constant shift towards specialization. No more Leonardo DaVincis today, no more One Man Game studios.

On the other hand people at that age should not be forced to make such decisions so early. That's good about your a bit of everything idea, but probably you need to make some compromise.

 

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This.

20 minutes ago, JoeJ said:

I don't think it makes sense to educate towards producers. There are not so much studios in the world, and each of them have only a very small number of people in this role.

One key recurring point is that I'm not getting the impression that you (OP) have really crunched some of the numbers involved. Have you looked at how many game studios there are in the world, where are they based (how many in Panama?)? How many of them are new startups, how often do they go out of business, how many of them are actually profitable?

As well as the companies you need to take a long hard look at the financials of most games, not just the headline blockbusters. There are thousands of games released every day (google play, steam etc), the vast majority of them will not cover their development costs, let alone make a profit.

If I were you, instead of a 'game specific' (or even media specific) school, I would be thinking in terms of a good selection of general technology courses combined with a foundation of traditional courses (including non-tech fields). And the emphasis being on technology theory and ideas that are not subject to rapid change (and thus depreciation). And perhaps limit the exposure to transient technologies to more optional components (and after school classes). Let's not forget that there's a huge amount of self-teaching information available for after-school on the internet.

One of many reasons I would suggest keeping some kind of broad options available, is that many applications of tech are by combinations with other fields. For instance, probably one of the most important fields this century will be biotechnology, for instance the combination of programming and genetic manipulation.

Overall the games industry itself, although seen as one of the 'sexiest' industries to your average spotty teenager, practically speaking is one of the least viable tech areas, and so I would not, in formal education, generally recommend the kind of specialization suggested.

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13 hours ago, gerardon said:

But you have one character that binds them all: the producer. the one whom coordinates all this complexity. He or she is a generalist, not a specialist. Is somebody that deals with actors, directors, technicians, caterars, financiers, etc etc. That's the character that I want to teach how to do all those processes.

I'm trying to understand this focus. You don't want to teach programmers or designers or artists - instead, you want to teach producers? Or you want to educate people as to how to produce? I'm a producer myself; I've produced 59 unique titles, and now I teach producing at university. Seems to me you should produce some games before you can teach producing. 

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Based on your comments, it seems that you're aiming to create a vocational high school: a high school that directs its students to some particular career. However, the following snippet suggests another possible direction:

On 7/12/2018 at 8:27 PM, gerardon said:

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.

What this puts me in mind of is the idea of having a generalist school, but one that replaces traditional techniques and media with digital media. For example, it might have a maths class in which trigonometry is taught--but instead of having the students sit and work arbitrary examples from an exercise book over and over again, it gives them a project or set of projects that employs trigonometry. The thought is that this might provide a more engaging, and thus more effective, method of teaching.

Your "video game high school" would thus be less "a school that trains video game developers/producers/whatevers", and more "a school that uses video game development to teach generalist subjects".

This may not be your intent, of course (I'm not sure of my reading of your posts)--but if not, it perhaps offers an alternative suggestion.

Note, however, that I am not an expert in teaching, so take my thoughts with a measure of salt.

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