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.
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.
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.
Panel: Industry and Education working together
Panel with Kurt Busch & Damon Raynor from Krome Melbourne
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.
Game Girls, ACMI
Game developer and educator Paul Callaghan and games designer Moran Paldi will host a workshop where groups will get hands-on with the design process by conceiving a game around your favourite TV franchise.