VITTA Conference

Why games in education is about more than just skills – and why gamification isn’t the answer.

Videogames are an attractive addition to education practice, whether through serious games, development, or the emergence of gamification. However, all of these endeavours ignore the cultural value and resonsnce of games in favour of their superficially playful and persuasive properties. In this session, Paul Callaghan, designer of the game development strand of the recent DEECD game baed learning trials and the director of the Freeplay Independent Games Festival which explores the intersection of games, art, and culture will explore why there’s more to games than what they ask you to do.

Upcoming Events…Part 2

At the very real risk of overexposure, I’ll be speaking about my usual mix of games, writing, and Freeplay related stuff at:

The ATOM Screen Futures conference on Sunday 10th July, 12:00 – 1:00

Teaching games and games literacy

While videogames sit firmly in the limelight, there is a whole world of games out there that are more accessible, more easily read, and which teach tangible skills that can feed into digital games and interactive development.

Drawing from a recent Department of Education and Early Chidhood Development research project into teaching games and games literacy, this session will look at games and design from physical and pervasive games, board games, improvisation, experimentation, and design exercises with the aim of separating out the creative skills from the technical and providing a base to support greater games literacy in the classroom – whether or not the final outcome is a digital game or something else.

Monash University’s Computer Games Boot Camp on Thursday July 14th talking about writing for games and indie development.

The next TEDxMelbourne event on the evening of Tuesday July 19th talking about Gaming and Innovation.

VITTA‘s annual ICT Week event at BMW Edge on Wednesday July 27th talking about the changing shape of the industry and what that means for students & careers.

VITTA Conference

Career Forum

Representatives from University, TAFE and industry will speak about new opportunities for people to access a range of cutting-edge careers. To better inform young people about the wide range of options available to them in ICT, course information for students will be explored as well as future pathways in the study of IT where jobs are growing rapidly in the ICT sector. ICT skills now are required by the full spectrum of private and public sectors, from banking, healthcare, law, telecommunications, education, transport, manufacturing, tourism, mining, environmental management, digital media to fashion design.

Keynote Presentation: Looking beyond the Digital

The most exciting thing about the emergence of video games isn’t the advances in technology or the establishment of a new art-form, it’s the simple fact that more people than at any other time in our history are thinking about the fundamentals of play and how to apply that to the world that we live in.

Starting from traditional literacy and numeracy, this session will take a meandering tour through how games and play are influencing city-planning, household chores, exploration, community, art, culture, social change, and of course learning and teaching – with the aim of hopefully showing that rather than destroying the world, games are helping to make it a better place.

VITTA ICT Week

Getting a job making games

In a very short amount of time, video games have become an incredible force both culturally and economically.  This session looks at the opportunities and skills required to work in games development and the games recently developed in Australia.

VITTA ICT Career Expo

How I got a job playing games for a living

An updated version of my talk from 2008

Video games don’t just appear from nowhere.  Somewhere, right now, there are people writing code, making art, designing levels and putting the finishing touches on games that will eventually find their way into PCs and consoles all over the world.  In Australia, there are around 2500 people doing just that and this number is expected to grow dramatically over the next 5 years.  In this presentation, Paul Callaghan, who has worked as a programmer, a game designer, and now a games teacher, will talk about how he found his way into the industry, how things have changed since then, how it’s possible to earn a living from it, and how it’s not all just sitting around playing games all day.

Some upcoming presentations…

In the run up to Freeplay, I’m doing a couple of presentations / talks / general ramblings.

  • I’m going to be talking at the Computer Games Boot Camp taking place at Monash in July.  The program should be up soon, but it’ll likely be a general ramble about my job as a writer with a little bit of workshopping thrown in to keep things interesting.
  • I’ll also be talking at the ICT & Careers Expo on August 1st as part of VITTA’s ICT Week.  Looks like it’ll be an updated version of my talk from last year discussing my winding career path to where I am now – and the importance of playing games if you’re going to make them.
  • Lastly, I’ll be doing a presentation at CAE‘s Writing for the Web class on August 4th about mechanics and expression, games on the web, and ARGs.

NSC & VITTA

This week, I’ll be speaking on a panel at the National Screenwriters’ Conference.  It’s entitled “Writing- It’s more than a game” and the details are:

“The differentiation between games and films is blurring rapidly. As game graphics and other technical innovations reach a highpoint, games are depending more and more on character, story and plot… and traditional screenwriters are becoming a valuable resource for the games industry.

The major global film market (15-30yo) is spending more time and money on games than cinema – and the trend isn’t slowing. So is there a place for you in game writing? Do you have to be a user to appreciate the form? How do your skills translate to this exciting field? And is the sky really the limit? Find out how you can tap into this exciting writing opportunity from three internationally respected games writers.”

I’ll be on with Jim Shomos & Joe Velikovsky.  It’ll be an interesting panel, I think.  One of the things that I hope to stress is that games are not stories – they may contain stories, but they aren’t the core of the experience.  After hearing Zareh Nalbandian from Animal Logic talk at GCAP about convergence, I was struck by how there’s a big gap in what film people think games do and what they actually do.  His talk focused mostly on the things that narrative games share – strong stories and characters – and almost completely ignored the mechanic aspect of it.  I think there’s a lot that games can learn from traditional writers, but I think there’s a lot they have to learn about the medium before they can seamlessly make the transition.

I’ve also set up a professional development workshop with VITTA for March 27th titled Games for Learning and for meeting your VELS requirements as well! Details are:

“Games and Game Design allow a number of interconnected disciplines to interact with each other -from story writing to art to programming to design.  This workshop takes a game from its initial idea through various stages in development, demonstrating how traditional literacy and numeracy skills can be applied to game design, the planning process involved in games creation, how to deconstruct and manage large numbers of ideas, and how to brainstorm and creatively solve game related problems.”

I’m planning to blog and twitter the NSC.  Follow my twitter feed here.

This past week…

It’s been a busy, but incredibly positive, week.  The biggest news is that I’ve submitted the final work for a project that I’m incredibly excited about and should be able to talk about very, very soon.

I also finished the first draft of the first new content for my novel in over a year.  I’m working on adding chapters to fill out some character development and to stop the main beats of the plot feeling so rushed in the second act.  It’s been really strange to go back and write new content for those characters in that world, especially as it’s a novel that I began 3 years ago and the person I am now is very different from the person who sat down to write it originally.   What’s been most surprising is seeing patterns evident in the book that reflect things I’ve been going through in my personal life, and only now being aware of them.  It really brought home how the creative process is, in many ways, a process of digging through yourself.  It also really brought home how crappy first drafts are.

Other news is that I’ll be talking at the Media and Design School in Auckland at some point in the next few months, and hopefully at the Melbourne Emerging Writers’ Festival in May.

I also received feedback from my two presentations at the Victorian IT Teachers Association Conference.  You can find it here.

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.

VITTA ICT Career Expo

How I got a job playing games for a living

Video games don’t just appear from nowhere.  Somewhere, right now, there are people writing code, making art, designing levels and putting the finishing touches on games that will eventually find their way into PCs and consoles all over the world.  In Australia, there are around 2500 people doing just that and this number is expected to grow dramatically over the next 5 years.  In this presentation, Paul Callaghan, who has worked as a programmer, a game designer, and now a games teacher, will talk about how he found his way into the industry, how things have changed since then, how it’s possible to earn a living from it, and how it’s not all just sitting around playing games all day.