Saturday, December 22, 2007

Delusions of typical students starting game development curriculum

Here are some of the delusions common amongst beginning game development students. The teacher's job is to counter these delusions. It's better to be honest, to work from reality rather than encourage fantastic "dreams".
  • They'll design a game and someone else will do all the work!
  • It's all creativity instead of work.
  • Ideas will just come to them, floating in out of the ether--and that one idea is all they need
  • AAA list games can be produced easily--they have no idea of the magnitude involved.
  • They'll play games all day in the job. (Even game magazine editors cannot do that.)
  • It matters that they're expert game players (it only slightly matters, and only for designers)
  • They're going to have a big effect on a AAA game soon after getting a job (they'll probably never have a big effect)
  • Getting a degree is going to get them a job. (They have to show what they can do, degrees don't count for a lot yet.)
  • If they just make a game that includes all the currently-popular elements (a market-driven game), theirs will be instantly popular.
  • They're going to be able to assemble a development team without salaries and get things done on schedule with the promise of royalties once the game goes commercial. (Though at least this happens every once in a while.)
  • They'll start their career working in the position they want to achieve in the long run.
  • Think the college curriculum is an extension of high school and act as such.
  • If they can do just what's in the curriculum, and without any additional effort, they will have 100% of what it takes to succeed.
  • They will only work on hard core games, underestimating the amount of casual game players.
  • Work will always be fun and they will always enjoy playing the game they create at the end.
  • They can never make a "bad" game that gets canceled.
  • Testing is only playing the game, not writing long reports on bugs and flaws.
  • They can sneer at and ignore non-AAA titles as though there was something wrong with them and they'd never need to work on such a thing
  • It will be Easy.
All delusions . . .

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"Always do right--this will gratify some and astonish the rest."Mark Twain
"A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." Antoine de Saint-Exup'ery

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." Albert Einstein

"Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler." Albert Einstein

"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle