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8:55pm on Tuesday, 16th September, 2008:

Games Postgraduates


I went to Brunel University today to give a keynote at the Postgraduate Games Conference (it was supposed to be Peter Molyneux, but he pulled out). I didn't get to hear all the speakers, but I could have talked for at least half an hour with each of the ones I did hear. It's wonderful when that happens — I just wish I had some postgraduates of my own.

I was also pleased to note that I had seem some of the postgraduates give presentations at other conferences (two were at Postdam) and that their work had indeed advanced since then; that's also wonderful when it happens. Another thing I was quite chuffed with was that one of the presentations was from one of my former undergraduates, who's now at ITU in Denmark: his success means my own course does have an escape velocity, rather than being a black hole from which no-one escapes. (Hmm, I should say did, not does, since they just cancelled the degree scheme...). I'd write more, but he reads this blog and would get all smug if I praised him in public.

My own talk was mainly a pep talk, trying to let the assembled postgraduates know that what they're doing is desperately needed, is almost virgin territory insofar as research is concerned, and is something to be proud of rather than excused. I don't know if I succeeded, but I certainly enthused myself.

Finally, I got to meet an old acquaintance, Steve Jackson, whom I last met in the mid-1980s when he and Ian Livingstone came round to look at MUD at Essex University. He's doing some teaching on the MA (I wonder if anyone at Brunel outside the games course knows how lucky they are to have him?), and it was he who invited me to be stand-in keynote. We've occasionally exchanged emails over the years, but it was great to see him in the flesh. I think I've aged more than he has, though (sigh).

OK, so I'm not pretending I wouldn't rather have been in Austin for AGDC, but I did enjoy this conference very much. If these people are the future of games research, it's got a good one.

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Copyright © 2008 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).