Game Design Summer School
The Summer School for Students and Young Designers is to be held in Tampere, Finland, from 30th of August till 3rd of September in 2010 at the DEMOLA Centre of Innovation. The Engage Summer school will tackle issues related to game design as well as how to embed curricular topics in the game design. The summer school (3 ECTS) will accommodate between 15 – 25 international students and game designers. For further information about the logistics, click on the links to see the people involved in the school, suggested accommodation, and a suggested budget for students.
This Summer School will give designers and creative students insights and knowledge of educational game design e.g. creating educational games for the target group, embedding curricular topics and stealth learning, providing accurate information, consulting on one hand teachers and on the other hand the target group; asking the right questions and embedding these answers into the game. This school will be held in association with the Tampere University of Applied Sciences.
Educational games have always been low budget, low tech, poor cousins of the computer game industry. Up until recently, very few commercial companies provide good quality educational games. Historically, these games have been written by teachers and academics who wish to utilize the technology within there teaching, but usually do not have the skill, not the finance, to create a high quality product. Commercial recreational games cost millions of dollars to create and often have teams of a hundred on more people. To make this a viable business, the resulting product must reach a wide audience and sell well. The industry has consciously not targeted education for this reason. Those companies who have ventured into this area, have traditionally aimed at the younger age group. Knowing that their parents will buy what is perceived as an educational game. However, it takes only a few nanoseconds for a child to realize that most educational games are homework and not a game.
In recent times, game-based learning has gained the interest of many teachers. Commercial off-the-shelf game (cots) provide many of the lessons that are needed and can be assimilated into the existing curriculum. Sim City, Civilization, Carmen Sandiego are all successfully used in schools across the globe. However, as commercial game engine become available as open source, many small developers are now using these to create high quality education games. Schools and institutions have accepted games as a learning resource, as have the military and many industries and a training tool. What we need now is talented designers to create digital games that fit within the curriculum and achieve the required learning outcomes.
This course centers around a role play of a game development company. Each of you will work within small teams, and will take responsibility for a specific role. These will be detailed at the start of the course and will closely resemble a real commercial game company. Each of you will also function within the group and assist with the completion of the work. However, at times you will be asked to assume the role that you have been assigned. This maybe project leader or quality assurance manager. You will design an educational game of your choice, and please be creative when developing your concepts, and you will complete a concept document and design marketing material in order to “sell” your concept to a publisher – think of the lecturer as the publishing company that will fund your project. The concept document will include technical specifications, which you will need to research, as well as artwork and gameplay design. The concept must be feasible and be able to be created if funding and resource was provided. You will also need to prototype your idea and analyze the usability. You will be shown how to do this in another session. Above all, take this class seriously. This role-play is based closely upon what happens in the real world and how the process of development occurs in a game design company.
During this course, you will learn many new terms used in academia. Pedagogy is the science of education and as a science it has its own language. Terms such as scaffolding will be introduced as will the dynamics of game-based learning. You will also become aware of how the computer game industry, a billion dollar plus market, is structured and how it functions. And hopefully, along the way you will reflect on your own learning process by reading your early entries in the group blog. As this course is given in English, it is a great chance for you to practice yours.
Lectures will be interleaved with practical work and will be provided by academic and industry experts. Topics will include:
- Game-Based Learning
- Game genres, platforms, and industry roles
- Gender issues and target audience analysis
- Design guidelines for successful games
- Concept documents and the development cycle
- Gameflow and usability testing
- Educational games and learning outcomes
- Game engines and development tools
- Marketing, packaging, and promotion
You will also need to prototype your idea and analyze the usability. This can be done on paper, as a mock-up, or by utilizing game engines provided during the school. This will obviously depend on the platform chosen for your concept.
At the end of the school, we will have the Summer School Golden Pineapple Awards. Think of these as the “oscars” of this class. Groups will be chosen as winner of categories like best original idea, best commercial potential, and best in show. Photos and screenshots will be displayed on the ENGAGE portal, giving your exposure and great potential for your future career. This can also be used as an entry step to the International “Golden Pineapple Awards”.
In summary, the aim of the Summer School is also to bring insight of game design industry and entrepreneurship. Further information will be posted here within the coming weeks, including a budget for your transport and accommodation. The school and facilities are provided free of charge with the ENGAGE project.
If you are interested in receiving further information contact us at email@example.com or complete your initial application here.