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The Evolution of Interactive Entertainment

The first generation of people who have grown up with video games is reaching middle age, and with them, their games have matured. I'll look at the past and present of interactive entertainment, and speculate on how it may evolve in the future.

Author: lambers

We need visionaries, not slackers!

Posted by lambers Wednesday April 21 2010 at 9:46AM
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Today I want to talk a little about the next generation of game developers.  When I decided to go back to school to pursue my passion for computers and gaming it was easy for me to choose the path of study I wanted.  My dream job has always been to be involved in the development of games, and with hundreds of schools adding game design as a major of study in the last 5 years, it's obvious there will be a lot of competition for positions in the field.  My decision was to go the programming route, since I already had a very good understanding of graphic and multimedia design.  Having the ability to understand all aspects of game development is very important.  

Now I sit in class next to the game design majors, who have very little understanding of programming, and a vague idea of how Maya or 3DS Max works.  I can only feel sorry for them, I almost feel like schools are lying to them.  With all the students graduating with game design degrees, the ones that are getting the jobs are the ones that CAN write the game themselves, or CAN come up with concept, or production art themselves. They all have an understanding of game design as a whole.  

Now to my point, and why I decided to stray a little for this weeks entry.  I was sitting in the lab at school working on a Java program for class.  Also in the lab was a C++ 101 class, one of the students near me, a game design major, was talking about how he hated programming and, now read carefully, how he didn't know why game designers needed to know anything about programming!  My mouth literally dropped open.  He continued to talk about how his philosophy of school was to not do his homework and get by with any grade as long as it was a C or better, it was all just for the diploma anyway.  Now believe me when I say I'm not real worried about this guy being involved in making a game I'm looking forward too, but he's not the only example I bring to the table.

In many of my classes I see these same students, some game design majors, some programming majors, even networking students.  I hear them talk about how they haven't finished their homework, they didn't feel like it, or they went out drinking instead.  They don't seem to really care what they learn, just that they pass the class.  I was in a group with some of the students in my major and we got to talking about how life would be on the job.  One student said he could understand how easy it was to program once you were putting 40 hours a week into writing code, but that right now he was struggling because he only worked on it during class.  I was a bit confused, considering we've all been told over and over that we need to put in at least 8 hours of work on the material outside of class, every week.  He went on to say that he doesn't enjoy sitting around and writing programs in his spare time.  Many of these students I talk about like video games and feel that if they just pass their classes and graduate with a degree they can sit around and play games all day for a job.  It is beyond me how they ever came to think this.  If you do even the least bit of investigation as to what it takes to produce a game these days you know it's a lot of hard work, with the few weeks leading up to release requiring intense dedication.

We need visionaries! We need the next generation of game designers to be programmers and artists with ideas, people who pursue those ideas no matter what.  People who are passionate, who spend their spare time writing code because they want to see their ideas and visions come to life.  Yeah, there is money in it but if we want our hobby, our passion to really blossom we need game designers who are devoted artists to what is, at the deepest level, an art form.  Here is to hoping there are others like me out there, lets show the world that gaming is more than an escape for lazy children!

Overview and Introduction

Posted by lambers Monday April 12 2010 at 5:44PM
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Hello, and welcome to the first of many posts to this contemplative blog.  I wanted to start with just a brief introduction to myself, what I'll be talking about and my reasons for creating this blog.  My name is Andrew Lambrecht, I'm a 29 year old gamer.  I'm currently studying software programming and working part time to get by.  My parents purchased a 286 when I was young, and my long and sometimes difficult relationship with computers and gaming began.  I won't go into details of all the games I've played and how I've felt about them right now, but suffice to say there haven't been very many games of any platform that I haven't played.  Not long after my folks brought PCs into my life I was digging into them literally and figuratively.  By the time I had graduated high school I'd built dozens of computers for friends, family, and even small businesses in the area.  Throughout my first years in college, time spent working, and my return to college, building and repairing PCs and gaming were always a large part of my life.  Through many of those years I taught myself several programming languages, and a firm understanding of digital design and the software tools used for it.

Having a background in many things necessary for game development and a passion for gaming itself, it only came naturally for me to begin forging ideas of what video games are and how they could be used or molded.  I want to look at how we perceive games today, and how I feel they are pigeon holed as things for kids to waste time doing.  It's partly due to how they were used and marketed in the past, even though there have been both successful and unsuccessful attempts to break away from those stereotypes.  I plan to examine exactly what it is people find fun when they sit down in front of their favorite game, and don't get me wrong what one person finds fun is as different from anothers as peoples taste in music, or dinning.  I want to look at what games can do for us, how we can learn, or focus skills and abilities.  

If you remember the days when blowing on the cartridge and tapping shave and a haircut on the top of the system was the magic procedure to get your favorite game to run just one more time.  I will show you just how far those simple games have come, for good and bad, and how much farther they can go.  Most importantly I want to examine the idea that in the future interactive entertainment will provide the possibility to let someone see the world through new eyes like no other art form ever has.

Lastly I want to thank you for stopping by to check out my first entry, and apologies for any grammar mistakes, I'm no English major.  I am however passionate about games and my ideas for the future of our favorite past time!