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7:29pm on Tuesday, 20th November, 2012:

Lone Gamer


As I type this, I'm sitting on a Metropolitan Line train from Uxbridge to Baker Street. I've just had my penultimate session as external examiner for Brunel University's MA in game design (the final one is on Thursday). I also had two hours more of serious discussion about game design, both theory and practice, than I've had for the entire term at Essex University.

There are no members of staff at Essex with whom I could have a similar conversation. Unfortunately, this is a place where none of the experts in Theory of Computation deem the writing of an operational semantics for Chess as worth their time, let alone something a game-like as Frogger. I'm pretty sure that there are students with whom I could have a decent conversation, but the problem is that I can't separate them off from the ones who either wouldn't engage in the discussion or who would engage but (sadly) aren't up to understanding it and would stop it progressing. I've had some good discussions in the past with students, but I just have too many now.

I do have some very good final-year project supervisees. Unluckily for me, most of them are interested in programming more than design (which is fair enough; I'm not going to criticise them for their interests any more than I want them to criticise me for mine). I just wish I got more who did want to talk about design rather than how to implement designs. I also wish that out final-year project system was set up better to accept designs as artefacts in and of themselves, rather than focusing on programs or pieces of hardware. I realise that as a Computer Science department it probably does need to have practical assignments like this, but that doesn't help me in my situation.

Oh well. I guess I'll just have to hope I get another external examiner gig somewhere fun for my game-related conversation.

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Copyright © 2012 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).