Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Teaching, Spring 2017

This semester, I'm teaching three game development classes. Here's a bit about each one:
  • "Intermediate Game Development" at NYU Game Center. This is maybe the 10th time I'm teaching the class; it's a mix of Unity, source control, and 3D art. It's intended for 2nd / 3rd year undergrads in the undergraduate game design program, to give them enough awareness of different tools so they can start to focus their practice in future classes. Teaching it is always challenging... some students double-major in computer science and think the coding lessons are too easy, but for many other students, this is only the second code class they've ever taken. That said, the main point of this class is that code is certainly important, but making a video game involves much more than just code.
  • "Virtual Reality Studio" at NYU Game Center. This is the second time we're running the VR class, and it's kind of exciting because the department is starting to equip some state-of-the-art Vive workstations. Last year, the lack of motion controllers and room scale capability really limited a lot of project ideas, so hopefully we'll be able to accommodate the student demand better. What's challenging about teaching this semester is that there's a lot of new material: I have to figure out how to teach a Vive workflow AND I'm also trying to mix-up the theoretical readings more. Last year, we spent a lot of time reading Hamlet on the Holodeck, which was helpful, but also way too concerned with narratology for a class that doesn't focus on storytelling.
  • "Recursive Reality" at Parsons School of Design, Design and Technology. This is the fourth time I'm teaching this VR studio class at Parsons, which differs greatly from the focus at NYU -- here, at least half the students are interested in VR for film / installations. The equipment situation here is a bit less ideal, because no desktop VR HMD is compatible with the school's fleet of Mac workstations. So instead, we're focusing more on mobile VR like Cardboard and Gear, which actually works well for a lot of the students' design goals.