Games and Research

Patrick Liu, formerly associate producer at Starbreeze, has some discouraging words for students at any of the Swedish game developer schools at his blog…

To be fair here, he does write that it’s basically just his opinion based on impressions. I don’t disagree with everything he says either – whereas, say, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any doctors that could have gone without a medical education, I have yet to see a now-employed, former student from a game school that I thought couldn’t have done it by themselves. Since he asks people to correct him, though, I’m going to point out the things I disagree with.

I’m not sure what game schools Patrick has visited, but I’m fairly sure he never visited mine since if he did, he’d see that games analysis (according to Aarseth, among others) was a very important part of the introduction course and there are several PhD students researching in the already existing academic principle concerning games. Perhaps not on par with the research conducted about other areas at larger universities, but it’s only been there for 4 years – Give it time. I also don’t get why he’s complaining about the lack of innovation – I would say most of the qualitative, innovative games in Sweden are made by students from game schools. While I do agree there certainly could be more of it, you have to consider that game-making require quite a high knowledge threshold in the first place and the school sort of has a responsibility to make sure everyone passes that threshold.

What I’m saying is that it comes down to whether you want to spend your education working out new concepts or actually learning how to implement them. From experience I know that most people will go for knowledge of implementation, and the purely conceptually interested are rarely able to show what they’ve done anyway. There are of course exceptions where people already have great skills and wacky ideas, which is why we do see innovative games from game schools from time to time.

Additionally, I would like to point out that of the “fresh” employees hired at Starbreeze, at least half come directly from game educations. I personally believe that the greatest boon is to build some connections to people with similar interests as well as the established games industry, sort of a middle-ground between being a hopeful and an employee, if you will. Perhaps that isn’t as useful to the established game industry as a program that reliably churns out top-notch game developers, but it sure is useful to the students.

No Comment

No comments yet

Leave a reply

Posted on Oct 30/07 by Saint and filed under Gaming culture, General game development | No Comments »