Tuesday, 14 September 2010
My New Job: Teaching and Things...
It's going to be an interesting challenge - coming up with a complete syllabus has been tough enough.
Many people in the UK are on the cynical side when it comes to higher education, and many people in the games industry are on the cynical side when it comes to games degrees - I'd have to say that I often count myself among both. It's easy to trade in pipe dreams and £1 pints so before anything else I'll be fascinated to sit in on a few classes and get to understand things from the inside.
About a year ago I was approached to put together a games writing text book, which I passed on the basis I didn't have enough experience. I didn't want it to be another book about writing written by someone who's never written. (Despite that good natured jab both McKee and Freeman are on the course.)
One reason I'm choosing to take up the mantle now is that this is pitched as a practical course, and regardless of how long the odds are of breaking into the industry, let alone into writing, I think I can help. Having written games for four years I'd not say I knew enough to write a text book to rival the best academic resources; but I do hope that my experience can translate in the classroom.
I'm going to be running the course with as much hands on work as possible - workshops and critique groups holding equal weighting to lectures on classical drama construction, indie and AAA deconstruction and practical work on industry codes and methods.
Because this is just one unit on a larger game design course I'll be running it as much with a view to training up producers, artists and engineers in how to work with a writer as how to write at all, and I'll expect the standard to vary wildly. There'll be artists there who haven't written since Year 10, and guys who do it every day. If I'm completely honest, it's the latter that really excites me - chances are there'll be one person on that course that completely blows me away. Perhaps more than anything else, I want to be in a room of passionate young games developers and learn something myself.
Of course, I also just love to be on the stage.
You can download my draft syllabus here. The key areas are the assessments, programme and reading list. I'd love to hear your thoughts.