Don't call him an adjunct. Self-proclaimed “freelance” professor and game designer Ernest Adams delivered the opening keynote speech at the IGDA Education Summit, which is taking place at the 2008 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. The two-day summit focuses on the academic teaching of video game development -- its purposes and how those purposes are best accomplished.
Adams' lecture, titled “Ten Commandments for Game Development Education,” named and discussed the most important things for game dev education programs, and like most “top ten” lists created by anyone with a programming background, there is indeed a “0” entry.
Ten Commandments for Game Development Education
10. Thou shalt not give tests in game development courses, nor be dogmatic in they doctrine, for even thou knowest not all.
9. Thou shalt reward precision and punish hand-waving, for the Lord loveth it not.
8. Except ye teach a master's level course in experimental interaction design, thou shalt not emphasize aesthetics or story at the expense of interaction, i.e., gameplay.
7. Thou shalt teach not only game development, but also the history of games, the analysis of games, and the sociology of gaming.
6. With industry shalt thou build relationship; yet also shalt thou remember that “industry” explodeth in all directions, and meaneth more than PC and console games for the West.
5. Thou shalt require teamwork. Thou shalt teach the skills of project management, and shalt gently discourage over-ambitious projects.
4. Thou shalt not punish failure in thy students' first-year projects, but encourage them to learn from it.
3. In their final projects, thou shalt encourage thinking outside the box.
2. Thou shalt require thy pupils to study other arts and sciences besides the craft of game development, for the ignorant developer createth only the derivative game.
1. Thou shalt integrate all the disciplines of game development unto the utmost of they institution's capacity.
0. Thou shalt not take an existing computer science, art, animation, media studies, English, or other program, add a game course or two to it, and call it a game program, for that is an abomination unto the Lord.
Adams has 19 years experience in the game development industry, holding titles from programmer to lead designer to audio and video producer. The majority of his time in the commercial industry was spent at Electronic Arts. He currently lives in England and is a visiting professor at several universities in the U.K. and Europe.
The IGDA Education Summit continues Monday and Tuesday (Feb. 18 and 19) at the Game Developers Conference.