March 27th, 2008 by Simeon
So far, things have been very interesting at Flashpoint Academy this academic year, and what has been most surprising does not really exist within the typical “gaming” mentality you might expect from new game-developers-in-training here at our state-of-the-art school in Chicago.
This process comes down to establishing in our students what amounts to them becoming “modern digital professionals.” The patterns initially are the same as they have been in the past across all industries. It takes hard work. Sweat. Tears. It takes drive and ambition. It takes attention to detail. It takes the ability to deliver on time and on target, meeting and exceeding expectations in every way. Communication, both written and verbal, is essential. That feeds right into one of the most important parts: team work. No person is an island. Everything is done in collaboration. Sure, there are leaders, but without the rest of the production team, none of it is possible. Project management and time management skills are invaluable. These are all things that game studios desperately need, and so far I have not mentioned anything about their technical or creative training in the game medium! So the final pieces for the “modern digital professional” include not only these baseline “soft” skills, but new skills in balancing forever advancing technology and creativity, and making each serve the other in any task put forward.
So, does that fit the mold when it comes to your idea of a stereotypical gamer? For those interested in Flashpoint Academy: If you don’t have the capacity to go down the difficult road of being a successful “modern digital professional” and “digital artisan”, we will encourage you to get serious and get ready before you consider the unbelievable program we offer here at Flashpoint.
The exposure students here have had to those in the game industry has been exceptional. Here’s a quick recap: they have spent countless hours with our incredibly senior faculty members (each have at least ten years of professional experience in their field – well beyond what you find at typical institutions trying to teach interactive media in the way that we are doing right now), to special visits by game documentarians, game industry executives, and composers from the Halo series and Final Fantasy series (yes, Nobuo Uematsu spent a morning with us a few week ago!). And more are coming. I have not mentioned the incredible things going on in our film, recording arts, or visual effects departments (along with the cross-department collaborative projects!).
Our students have worked on developing a large number of innovative games, and they are working with cutting-edge game engines right now using the latest tools that were literally just “science fiction” a few short years ago. The whole production process, the digital asset management system, the workflow, and the responsibilities of each team member – these are all critical things for these new game developers to learn in their efforts under our guidance and supervision within our curriculum.
So, you can see, this is not just for people who are interested in playing games for a living. This is for people who want to make games, and who are willing to do what it takes to achieve the challenging heights they must reach before we launch them into this competitive industry. By the time they complete our program, they won’t need “launched” – they will be on their own feet, ready to work hard and face the challenges ahead without fear.