Central to the concept of the Philadelphia Game Lab is an emphasis on education. In these efforts we are fortunate to be guided by an excellent advisory panel of educators and consultants on one hand and experienced industry professionals on the other. If you are interested in participating or collaborating on educational projects with us, we welcome contact.
Our aim in this area is to leverage kids’ interest in games to get as many and as diverse a group of kids as possible involved in at least the rudimentary tools of game creation. They may not go on to create games, but interest in games is fairly ubiquitous from middle-school through young adulthood, and whether game development is simply the candy that gets them into design and technology, or an ongoing interest, games are a meaningful and familiar element in their lives, which can effectively provide the thin end of the wedge for technical and design education. We work with a number of groups in advancing these efforts, and have a special focus on Scratch for younger kids.
Professional (and advanced Teen)
Philadelphia has many skilled individuals in technical and design areas, but we are not an “industry town” for game development. In many ways, this is a very good thing, because it allows us to leverage our strengths in grassroots initiatives. It also explicitly leads to a focus on “small team” development that is both timely and appropriate to the opportunities of today’s game market, and at the same time more satisfying to team members, who inherently have a true creative voice in what they build.
In support of this environment, we are creating two tracks in development, both tailored to small teams and rapid development:
Classes centered on teaching conventional game creation using internet technologies and HTML5. Emphasizing standards-centric technology that is not specific to the games industry provides a number of benefits:
- There are already many skilled professionals using these tools in Philadelphia, allowing us to leverage their existing skills to help provide them with opportunities in game creation.
- Casual and social games already heavily skew toward implementation via these tools, and that trend is only continuing. We believe that in recommending this course, we are advocating the best business decision for participants.
- There are broad community advantages to encouraging as many people as possible to master web design and programming tools. Even if many who take part in these classes never make games, the comfort and attractiveness of games to a vastly diverse audience gives us an unfair advantage in bringing them to the table.
For those interested in expanding their creative options in game development, especially with the addition of a robust 3D environment, Unity is a flexible authoring tool and game engine. It operates on Windows and Mac, and publishes to every significant game platform (Windows, Mac, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, iPad, Android and iPhone). The timeline for learning Unity is quite short, and in the past few years it has become the platform of choice for independent game developers. We will also offer classes in 3D modeling for such games.