Tag Archives: 2008

VITTA Conference

From designer to teacher and back again

Today’s students have never seen a world without video games.  According to ABS statistics: 12.5m games were sold in 2006; 6.1m video game consoles have been sold since 2000; 3.6m Australian households have a video game console; and 4.8million Australian households have an internet enabled PC which is capable of playing games.

In this session, Paul Callaghan, a veteran game developer now teaching programming & game design in the VET sector, will discuss his experiences transitioning from industry to teaching and how playing games and learning are inextricably linked.

Critical thinking about video games

Today’s students have never seen a world without video games.  They’re an integral part of life now, becoming a new cultural artifact, a new entertainment medium, and bringing with them a whole slew of new employment opportunities.

But how do they work?  And what are the parameters for having a meaningful dialog about them with our students?

In this session, Paul Callaghan, a veteran game developer now teaching programming & game design in the VET sector, will discuss the theory of how video games work and how that knowledge can be used in the classroom.

Game Connect Asia Pacific

Towards a theory of Everything: Lessons learned as a programmer, designer, writer, and teacher

One of our first instincts is to play. As children, we use it to explore our environment, to test roles, to establish our position in the world. We test the rules imposed by our psychology, our biology, our social structure. We form our own individual goals as we go, trying to build a model of how the world works, trying to work out who we are and why we’re here. We skip and stumble and run and tell stories as we move further and further away from our comfort zone towards the extreme limits of our abilities, where we fall, hopefully not too far, then pull out our pencils and scribble down that we found the edge of the map.

Video games tap deeply into our need for play, but now the goals are constructed, the rules are more rigid, and how we interact with the world has been carefully designed as an experience. But that experience is still an act of exploration. The player is wandering through a game space finding the edges, charting the terrain, failing and trying again.

The process of creation is the same. We begin with a vague sense of where we are, and where we want to go, and then we write experimental programs and sketch thick lines in photoshop and build prototypes from paper. We tentatively map the programming and art and design space, finding new things, stumbling, falling, mapping the edges, still following that same urge we have as children – to play.

This instinct is central to how we learn, how we create, and how we live. Drawing on experience as a programmer, a designer, a writer, and a teacher, this presentation will discuss how that knowledge can inform our approach to the development process and the eventual player experience.