As you may know by now from my enthusiastic ravings, the HKU is a fantastic game design college, and I am happy to be a part of it every day. That is not to say it doesn’t have it’s flaws.
This year, they completely overhauled the education system. There’s a lot of new staff, and all classes have been redesigned and rearranged. Before, we had four semesters of eight weeks with a number of courses and a project. Now, it’s two semesters with courses of varying durations integrated into the project. And so it could happen we get classes in project management four weeks after actually starting a project, and we have to build a game while hardly anybody knows how to script or model in 3D. But at least we’re really learning something. They’re trying to get us up to speed after last year, but it’s just all still a bit of a mess right now.
And here it shows through that management may not be entirely in touch with the industry anymore. We’re being bombarded with ‘serious games’ and doing research research research, and oh yeah, learn how to work in teams. But nobody is too concerned with teaching us how to use the tools.
That’s why I wanted to give a shout out to Dimme van der Hout, a former student now in charge of everything that has to do with the art side of things, and additionally he runs his own company – Monkeybizniz. I think it’s safe to say he is the most respected man on campus right now, because he’s practically single-handedly trying to fix the entire system. He is very passionate about quality assurance, so he’s organizing all sorts of courses to help us raise the bar on our artwork. If something sucks, he doesn’t mince words and just gives it to us straight (a far cry from some of the teachers we had last year). It’s good to finally have someone who has his shit together and knows what he’s doing. He is by no means the only one, but he’s the most prominent figure for us.
And I wanted to give special mention to some other former students that are helping us with the project; Paul, Erik and Ferdi from De Monsters. I had a chance to sample their project management software called PEF at the graduation exposition last week, and I’ll tell ya: you’re gonna want this product. It’s built on Adobe AIR, and really makes managing a project and it’s files between all team members an easy and fun task. It looks and feels like something Adobe designed. So keep an eye out for the PEF beta sometime soon.