Tickets on sale for Games:EDU 2010

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Games:EDU 2010 will be taking place at the University of Abertay, Dundee on Thursday May the 20th. Early bird tickets are available for a limited time only via Eventbrite:

Stay tuned for speaker announcements and ticketing updates; we have some exciting speakers to announce and will also be offering discounts to TIGA and IGDA members.

Dr. Mike Reddy: Slides and Audio

Friday, August 14th, 2009

Mike Reddy gave an updated version of his excellent talk “Oh The Cowman and the Farmer Should Be Friends”, about the conflict between academics and game developers over skills education. He’s posted the slides to Slideshare, and you can also get audio of the talk here.

Early Bird Discount Ending for Games:EDU 09

Monday, June 8th, 2009

Tickets for Games:EDU 09 are just £25, but only until Wednesday the 10th of June. Get yours while you can.

Our full press release is after the jump.


Games:EDU South Slides

Friday, August 15th, 2008

The slides from presentations at Games:EDU South have started to go up on Slideshare. We’ve had many requests for Jolyon’s slides, which should be up there soon.

Global Game Jam

Friday, August 15th, 2008

I got this in my inbox, and it’s definitely worth passing on. Game
Jams have been a venerable part of games culture around GDC for a long
time, and now the IGDA Education SIG is aiming to send them global:

I am really excited to announce to friends the live
website of a new project that the SIG is organizing. I hope with your
help to make at a real success with everyone globally. The Global Game
Jam will be announced at Sandbox and SIGGRAPH, where we are doing a
call for host venues and looking for sponsorship money to pull of such
a large scale project. The Global Game Jam is a first of its kind Game
Jam that will take place in the same 48 hours around the world, January
30-February 1st, 2009. Our friends at the Nordic Game Jam will be our
flagship Jam – they have had years of success. This should be a real
experience in creativity, innovation and experimentation.

If you know of anyone willing to host a Game Jam in their local area
or for that matter, help us sponsor the project, please let me know.
Information regarding hosting and sponsorship is available on the site.
We hope to have local jams throughout Asia, Europe, North/South
America, South Pacific… and anywhere else willing to host a jam. The
Global Game Jam is open to everyone. Sign-up for the local Jams will
happen in late October. The GGJ will provide one representative of each
winning local jam a round-trip ticket to present their game at the IGDA
Education SIG Workshop at GDC.

I’m looking forward to seeing the results of this.

Games:EDU:08 North Slides

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

Slides from Games:EDU North are being sent live here. So far, we have slides from Nick Burton of Rare, Jon Purdy from the University of Hull, and Mike Reddy from the University of Wales, Newport.

Games:EDU North 08: Mike Reddy

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

The closing talk of the day was by Dr. Mike Reddy from the University of Wales, Newport.

Mike is an interesting speaker, who started by asking everyone to switch their phones on and text him comments during his talk. Much of the talk itself echoed Matt Southern’s earlier points.

Mike described the current conflict over games courses as a Cowman/Farmer conflict: The cow men want freedom for herds to graze, and farmers want fences and structure. Similarly, many academics want freedom to pursue interesting research projects, whereas much of industry wants the security of vocational courses encouraged by organisations such as Skillset.

It’s by no means a simple problem. Mike summed up the results of purely research focused courses, as seen by the industry, with this fictitious job advert:

Wanted: Graduate
0 years of industry experience
No portfolio to speak of
Must be incapable of eye contact
No ability to work in a team necessary

Clearly, the balance will continue to be a difficult problem. Games need both vocational and theoretical inputs to survive and mature. Not only will this require new courses, but maybe even new kinds of institution.

Games:EDU North 08: Academic Workshops

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

One of the things we’re aiming to do with Games:EDU in future is develop greater engagement between the audience and the speakers. Question and answer sessions at the end of talks are fine, but this time we thought we’d also have workshops.

Jonathan Purdy (University of Hull), John Sear (University of Derby), Steven Yau (EA), and Gregor White (University of Abertay Dundee) handled the workshops each giving a short presentation then splitting the audiences up for group discussions.

Steven Yau was a former student at Hull, and gave a presentation about the job hunt that led him through a Master’s degree and eventually to EA.

John Sear spoke about the projects they’d done with students, running small groups as imaginary game studios, but putting them under the same pressures. Late changes to projects, firings, even studio closures, the team at Derby have a great deal of fun with the students. Talk of this carried on into the workshops, with one of the main points coming out of it about planning: Such measures are carefully planned at Derby, but introducing them late to a course creates more problems than valuable experience.

Games:EDU North 08: Matt Southern

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

Matt Southern ran out of time last year, but was giving an absolutely excellent talk, so we got him to return for a two hour session this year. He covered a lot of important ground, and also got Pete Smith from SCEE in to give a demo of Little Big Planet. Here are some of the points Matt raised:

A lot of developers say "most games courses suck". This might be true, but so do most games. On the rare occasions that this is pointed out, it’s usually with the euphemism "games are a hit driven industry". Perhaps, at this point, it would be fair for academics to say games courses are hit driven…

Games have undergone an illusion of progress, because while the technology has advanced year on year, our cultural progress lags behind. In terms of the ladder of cultural forms, games are still at the bottom.

Giles Whitell wrote recently in The Times: "I hate being told to immerse myself in them before passing judgment, because it feels like being told to immerse myself in smack and teenage pregnancy before passing judgment on them". Matt’s comment on this was "the higher you get up the cultural ladder, the less often you’re compared to smack".

He also had things to say on game designer input into courses: Ask a game designer what a game is, and they’ll say "Games are interactive entertainment". Ask them to be more specific, and they’ll just tell you their preferences. They’ll probably say little about craft. Stroking a cat is "interactive entertainment", but it’s not Peggle. Games are something different.

At Games:EDU 07, a lot of developers were telling lecturers that they need more maths and CS in their courses. Games need cultural growth, because if lecturers listen only to us, the industry will just end up with weird, inbred versions of existing developers.

Acknowledging that vocational skills are an important part of games education, Matt also said that games desperately need the infusion of cultural intelligence and maturity.

To illustrate, he referenced the "movie brats" of the 1970s. They were the first graduates from American films schools, who took cinema forward through some radical cultural jumps. Games courses are at the point of spawning such a generation, but won’t be able to do it by only teaching vocational skills.

The balance of vocational skills and cultural awareness seemed to set the tone of Games:EDU this year, where in previous years it has been more polarised. We’re looking forward to carrying this on at Games:EDU South in July.

Games:EDU North

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

Games:EDU 08 North took place in Manchester yesterday, and you can find our first batch of photos from the event on Flickr.

We’re proud of the line up of speakers we put on. They, along with all those in attendance, showed a real evolution of the dialogue that was started in 2006 and continued last July in Brighton.

There’s still plenty to be settled in the dichotomy between vocational skills and research, but the way academics and developers are speaking to each other now is much more conciliatory and understanding.

It definitely needs to be pushed further though. While some academics and developers are talking to and listening to each other, there are plenty that aren’t. We’re looking forward to July, when we’ll be putting on the South event with Jonthan Blow, and Mark Morris from Introversion.

Over the next few weeks, we’re also going to be putting things from Games:EDU here on the site. We’ll be putting up speakers slides, along with posts about the talks and articles from the delegate book.