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dev|Pro Game Development Curriculum

Game Development Curriculum Free to Schools

by Geoff Beckstrom · 12/05/2014 (2:25 pm) · 19 comments

As many of you know GG|Interactive as a subsidiary of GarageGames has developed curriculum to allow any middle school, high school, or community college to teach game design and game programming. We call the program DevPro: Computer Science in Game Design.

We are currently running a promotion that allows any school to offer the full curriculum to as many students as they would like at no cost for their first school year. I would like to invite all of you within the GarageGames community to take the opportunity to view the course and to provide us with your thoughts and feedback.

I know that many of the developers within the Torque and GarageGames community did not have the opportunity to learn game programming or game development in middle or high school and that many within the community are self-taught. We are looking for your expertise and for your specific point of view in looking at this course content for a new generation of game developers taking their very first game design and game programming classes.

GG|Interactive has a number of schools that are going to launch this course in January but a much larger (and growing) group of schools that will start their free year in the fall of 2015. So the feedback you provide to us today will be reviewed and will make a real difference in the course for future students. And who knows, maybe you will even learn something new!

To view a web demo version of the course you can go here.

However to take full advantage of the course that includes practical exercises using our design tool 3 Step Studio and C# code exercises using Visual Studio and Mono Game you will want to go here (or click the button below) and register so you can download all of the resources and the full course content.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback for this course!

Register Now

12/07/2014 (5:14 am)
I see this is the fastest news...
12/07/2014 (10:26 am)
I downloaded and registered the course when it went up. I haven'T been able to go into it in any great detail but I do plan to continue over the course of December when I get the time.

I can't judge whether it is set at the right level as I am English and we have neither middle schools nor high schools so whilst I could hazard a guess at the age group it would only be a guess. However, after watching most of the game design videos and some of the game programming videos and with a quick look at 3 step studio my initial impression is that it is a very well put together course, quite a few things here that show it has been put together by actual game developers as opposed to academics with a knowledge of theory. A great deal of practical advice and numerous insights. The maths elements, I especially looked at the algebra and trigonometry videos, could not be more clearly explained. Illustrating the ideas by indicating on a screenshot just where some of the maths comes in use kind of removes the abstraction to some extent and no doubt makes it more understandable to the core audience.

The presentation was succinct and the presenters were very clear, I didn't misunderstand a single word and the teaching I thought was engaging with most videos not outstaying their welcome.

I have a few quibbles, one to do with at what stage gameplay needs prototyping before a GDD is locked down but all that stuff is just subjective preferences. Obviously everything was relevant but I especially appreciated some of the items you emphasised which, again, shows your expertise; emphasising how important reactive controls are to a good game experience for a player for example. This is all excellent stuff. It struck me as a very effective course and one of real practical use.

Hopefully I can get time to go into it in more depth and start to make use of 3 step studio over the next couple of weeks.

Hopefully this will be a success for garagegames, it certainly deserves to be.
12/07/2014 (3:30 pm)
@JED - Wow! Great feedback. Thanks for going into detail on what worked and what was clear. We can never have too much feedback, so feel free to spam this blog with as many comments as you want as you go through the course. This goes for everyone else. I told the rest of the team that the GG community is an excellent source of feedback, considering the range of experience (from novice to pro) in programming.
12/08/2014 (9:39 am)
JED - For reference in the States middle school age is 11-14 while high school is 15-18.

The design section of the course we believe fits perfect down to 11 years old.

The programming section targets 16-18 years old but we are doing some younger test groups to see how well it fits. Certainly the motivated student from 11-15 years old can tackle the entire course.

Thank you for your comments and I look forward to hearing more as you have time to go over more of the course and use 3 Step Studio.
12/08/2014 (11:55 am)
Learning programming in school? When I was in school this was unthinkable. We only had like two school hours per week learning how to write word documents and making excel tables, that was all we learned and most did not even understand that.
12/08/2014 (12:44 pm)
Geoff - good to know, I guessed that was the target age. I will get back to you in the New Year as I want to give it a good run.
12/10/2014 (5:26 pm)
is it just for schools ? Or could I download this and use by itself, to teach a group of 6-7th grade kids how to make games? I have a 12 year old son with lots of friend who all daydream about making games.

And does it relate directly to Torque3D or did you guys go another route ... curious, because of your mention of Mono, C# and the 3 step studio ...
12/10/2014 (10:07 pm)
I have signed up, but have yet to read it through, hopeful that I will have time over the holidays.

Is the content cross-platform (I.e. Linux, Mac, Windows) or just Windows?
12/11/2014 (8:06 am)
@Jeff - You can register yourself and certainly teach a group of kids and your own son the content. We are offering the same first year free deal to anyone whether they are part of a traditional school setting or not.

We put a lot of thought and discussion into whether or not to use Torque 3D. It being open sourced and our familiarity with it made a lot of sense. But ultimately we decided we wanted to teach C# more than Torque Script and give students something that would be more applicable both in and out of the game industry to start their education not just in game development but in programming in general.

The use of 3 Step Studio is the first (design) section of the game and used to teach game development fundamentals such as level design. Once students move to the second (programming) section they are learning C# and using Visual Studio.

I look forward to hearing how your son and any kids who join you in the course enjoy it!
12/11/2014 (8:08 am)
@Lukas - The course content (video lectures, reference text, etc) is web based and can be viewed from any modern browser. However the exercises which include using 3 Step Studio during the design section and Visual Studio for the programming section require windows.

I hope to hear some more feedback from you during the holiday!
12/12/2014 (5:15 am)
I get an error saying:
Sorry, there are no more Activation Codes available at this time. Please try again later.
12/12/2014 (6:05 am)
@Tomas - I just went through the site myself and was not able to reproduce that same error and I checked the back office and there are still codes left. I will make sure someone reaches out to you directly to make sure we get you going. Thank you for letting us know about the error message.
12/12/2014 (6:46 am)
@Thomas - Please log back into your account and you should have access to the activation code you need. If not let me know ASAP. I look forward to hearing your feedback once you get into the course!
12/12/2014 (12:53 pm)
As a note to everyone - we have created a Q&A forum which you can view here.

Once you are registered for the course you can post new Questions and/or Answers using the same username and password you created to access the course.
12/13/2014 (7:39 am)
@ Geoff - is it possible to put this on a different machine and still use the same activation? I installed it on a windows 8 PC and would like to move it over to my windows 7 one.
12/13/2014 (9:23 am)
@JED - Yes that is fine.
12/31/2014 (11:05 am)
How about adding a C# wrapper around torque 2d and 3d? You could wrap it with the most current run-time and have a leg up on unity =).
12/31/2014 (11:44 am)
@Jacob - It's worth bringing up to the steering committees, but it won't happen for the Dev|Pro curriculum.
10/14/2015 (1:33 am)
I had a very brief look at the programming course. The first thing I see is that it's Windows centric, and C# only, why?

It is becoming essential to at least use cross-platform technologies. People use OSX, and people also use Linux. I know Mono is available on Linux, but it's a monolithic/massive library and is plain bloody annoying.

I guess there is some value in making it easy for first-timers to get started, but also, there is a lot of value in not chaining them to (mostly) one platform. Python + PyGame is even easier to start with. And C++ with SFML is just as easy.

Very sorry I can't provide much feedback of real value, as I pretty much stop right there.

I'm just about finished the year at university, so I will hopefully get some time to have a good look at the design course that is available. The blurb/sell looks rather interesting and sounds like it covers a great range of the design that is involved.