Spreading the Brainjuice

AucklandNightHarbourAfter speaking at the Media Design School in Auckland while I was up there for Semi-Permanent 08 they asked if I’d like to come back in the future. Well of course I would, I really enjoy speaking with students. Last week I returned to Auckland to spend two days with one of the game development classes who are entering the final part of their course.

With 3 weeks used up they’ve got the same again left in a pre-pro phase before moving on to 5 months to finish the whole thing. Like many student groups and first time mod makers they had a massively ambitious project planned which won’t fit in the time available.

So I spent two days talking about Scope.

They’ve actually got a wicked high concept for the game which could make for incredible FPS co-op play, but the  number and variety of assets and systems that have to be built to support it are a bit out of control. The discussions revolved around the design choices they had made thus far and I looked for areas that I know will trip them up in the course of production. We talked about choices like dynamic physics vs. animated destruction, how to ensure silhoutte recognition in night time lighting conditions, and kept coming back to how to ruthlessly evaluate features and specs.

On the second afternoon I ran through the prioritization of Must Have, Should Have, Nice to Have and talked about the onion skin method of visualizing those categories. The group was highly receptive to the idea, and I foresee sticky notes of features and a clustering exercise in their future. The MDS students are a highly motivated bunch, can’t wait to play what they produce. They’re blogging their progress as well, so into Google Reader that goes.

Thanks to Steffan, Stephanie, Kyall, Darius and Brendan at MDS for organizing the trip and getting me in to spend time with some promising students. MDS has a blog as well and Stephanie snuck a couple of pictures and wrote it up.

2 thoughts on “Spreading the Brainjuice”

  1. Hey James,

    Thank you for coming up. It is particularly great to have experts like you sharing their knowledge and experience with students. They learn tons more when it comes straight from the industry. They were all buzzed out about it, so thank you for accepting to listen and work alongside them.

  2. Cheers Steph, it was a lot of fun. Much of what I was saying the Steffan and the guys had already covered, but being able to go through it with a fine tooth comb from a new perspective never hurts.

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