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5:21pm on Sunday, 9th April, 2017:



It may be a beautiful, bright, sunny day outside, but I've been marking CE217 assignments. They take me ages — at least 30 minutes, but more usually close to an hour. I have about 5 left to do, but they'll have to wait until tomorrow and Tuesday.

I changed the mark scheme from last year, because there were some easy-peasy giveaway sections that weren't really necessary and were inflating totals. It's probably just as well I did, because some students have done exceptionally well. Hmm, well some did exceptionally well before, of course, but this year there seems to be more of them. I'm starting to worry that they may actually be learning what I'm teaching them.

This is a game design assignment, and in previous years there have been noticeable trends. Vampires were big, then zombies, then post-apocalypse, then zombies again. This year, it's the epic fantasy RPG that is the clear favourite. I take this to mean that the students know they are loaded with debt and will end up working for peanuts, so they want to escape to a world where they can accumulate gold and save a kingdom. Either that, or they've been watching too much Game of Thrones.

Several of these games were of the form: play through a mission, get treasure and experience points, then between missions level up. Almost all of these focused on the levelling-up rather than the going on missions part. Few people play a game for the fun of spending loot on power-ups or buying bigger weapons; they play so they can have fun in the missions. Oh well. I take this to mean that the students are thinking about what they'll do after they've passed their exams, rather than what they have to do to pass them.

As for me, well once the weight of this assignment has been lifted from me, I only have to mark MSc project proposals and then I can look at undergraduate final-year project reports. Then, I can start answering some of the emails that have been sitting in my in box since January...

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Copyright © 2017 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).