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dev|Pro Game Development Curriculum

Game Development Curriculum

by Eric Preisz · 09/26/2014 (5:43 pm) · 13 comments

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It is back to school for students all across the country, and this fall, we will be going back to school with them. You see, over the past year we have been utilizing our experience and expertise as game technology developers to create a program that focuses on teaching kids programming through a fun and engrossing game development curriculum. Now we are proud to announce that our curriculum is released and being used this school year by the College of Southern Nevada and high schools in California.

To give a little background, GG|Interactive is a subsidiary of GargageGames, with the goal of delivering a comprehensive, programming centered, video game development course for high schools and colleges. We call this the Dev |Pro: Game Development Curriculum.

Now, I recognize that there are already video game courses available, but, as the head of an actual video game technology company, I knew there was room for improvement in what kids were being asked to suffer through. Besides, it seemed to me, making video games is a great incentive for students to learn coding and none of these existing courses were utilizing the opportunity as I thought they could.

So we did it ourselves. Taking a contemporary approach to delivering the course, we built the curriculum as fully integrated, digital education package. For students and teachers this means a modern education experience that includes: a digital user interface that replaces the printed textbook; video lectures that support the reference text; interactive assessments and exercises; and, of course, constant software updates.

This means that, perhaps for the first time ever in a school setting, students will see constant improvement and timely updates on the material they are using. Updates will include any news worthy events within the game industry and the latest feedback from teachers, educators and even the kids taking the course. This is not reprinting a textbook every year with some corrections and erratum; this is continuous, real-time, Silicon Valley-style software development used for better education.

We at GG|Interactive hold the philosophy that teaching coding in high school should be mandatory if we are to give our kids a real vocation in the modern world. Think of it this way, we used to think teaching auto shop was a good fallback for high school students not seeking a college degree. Today, if we want our kids to have valuable skills after high school, programming has to be the new auto shop. And that means we have to modernize how we think about and present education to our kids in the digital age of technology.

It is my sincere hope that we as a country begin to give our youth the tools and education they need to face the challenges of a modern, competitive world of technology. I believe GG|Interactive’s Dev|Pro: Game Development Curriculum is a serious and invaluable step in that direction and I invite everyone, not just students, in supporting programming education in American schools.

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09/26/2014 (9:32 pm)
Great to hear from GG. Now we know what all the web developers are working on! ;) Though the site is super laggy for me when scrolling in Chrome 33 (Ubuntu).
09/27/2014 (5:58 am)

@Daniel: That's cause they're using javascript animated scroll to force smooth scrolling and it sure is annoying. Web browser smooth scrolling + javascript animated smooth scrolling = input lag and scroll jitter.
09/27/2014 (7:03 am)
Unfortunately, in Denmark no such courses exist so I'll probably never see this at my University as a "true" course :/
Looks like a pretty good course though, very interesting. I'd wish It were possible for me to read the material.

If I ever find the time to teach a little myself, i'll keep this curriculum in mind.

Also, I have a issues viewing the website on windows phone, just fyi ;)
09/27/2014 (7:43 am)
This is why I don't like web dev. You can't just say "we'll build a slick, fast site with cool effects." You have to say "we'll build a slick, fast site with cool effects ... aw crap, what if they're using IE? Or a phone? Or they hit the site from a banana or a toaster? I hate optimizing sites for toasters and bricks!" - "Hey! Don't forget potatoes!"

It runs pretty well on Chrome for me, but I can see some jitter when scrolling, too. This one is going to be tough to really iron out. Looks sweet, though.
09/27/2014 (4:50 pm)
@Daniel - MonoGame.
09/27/2014 (7:20 pm)
Ah cool, I guess XNA namespaces still exist.
09/28/2014 (4:43 am)
This is a very good news. I hope GG can break now. Hope that the GG has a product. Something compelling products. Like gears of war propaganda engine works.
09/29/2014 (8:57 am)
One thing I found when looking for a job was that my education did not focus on skills that employers want in Game development. For instance, there was no courses for distributed algorithms, Advanced Graphics(use of vertex and pixel shaders), use of profilers, and/or experience working on consoles. These topics are what many jobs are asking for. I also think an aspect that is lacking in school is developing debugger skills and working with repositories.
09/29/2014 (9:45 am)
Debugger skills. Absolutely - the guys at a well-known test lab that my company uses had to be shown how to step through code. The conversation went something like this:

"Do you know how to set breakpoints?"
"We know how to set breakpoints."
"Ok, set your breakpoint at the top of getGameWin() and step through from there until you get your RNG call."
"What do you mean, 'step through?'"
09/29/2014 (11:56 am)
Happy to see you guys are using monogame. If i was to do any work with C#, I'd def. look into MonoGame since XNA is well...deprecated as itself :)
10/04/2014 (11:59 am)
@Richard. Wait! I know this. Manually set an additional break point at every subsequent line of code until I get there ... right? ;-)

Seriously. The educational resource looks impressive, but I'm confused where it's being targeted. I assume there must be some sort of accrediting process to be accepted in a High School setting - how is that being approached? On the continuing education side, is the idea to have the course accepted by colleges and offered in the curriculum?

I'm trying to understand the pricing and how it fits with different scenarios. This feels like the evolution of the older GG program that involved discounted licenses for participants that felt workshop-focused. A lot has changed since then.

Licensing on the new product is $140 per student with unlimited updates. Does that mean the student is licensing all the training materials and leaves the course with unlimited updates, or is the instructor purchasing seats on a license they hold that will be updated? I'm curious how this initiative works.
10/08/2014 (3:59 pm)
@Kent - There are different levels of review and it varies state by state. In Nevada, for example, we helped write the standard. The course is already being taught in colleges and perhaps we will offer it as a retail product in the future.

The pricing is quite different and disconnected from how we've sold products in the past. Right now, we are selling directly to schools and through re-sellers.

Students keep the license and get unlimited updates. We expect to be updating the product non stop for quite some time. We think the old model of a company building a portfolio of curriculum should die and be replaced by really high quality curriculum that is focused on a particular topic. By doing what we are doing we are bucking the trend...which is fun :) Right now there are hundreds of different low to mid quality options with prices similar to ours.