I’m currently teaching a game development education course using Unity in an event called “Youth City 2030”. It is happening in my home country, Bahrain. I’m enjoying every bit of the adventure, teaching people how to join forces with game developers out there in the world. Here are my thoughts so far.
This photo shows the logo of initiative that I’m currently part of, Youth City 2030 – Bahrain:
Youth City 2030 – Bahrain
The course tries to break the ice for people who want to get involved in the game development field. But are very scattered among what they heard about game development being hard and all. A lot of people claim that in order for you to become a game developer you have to study math. Others say that you have to master programming and the very rigid will say that you have to know everything in order to build a game.
I honestly beg to differ, I believe that some of what these people say “used to” be true. However, now it’s not so true, where you can literally build a whole game without even writing a single line of code. It all depends on what you aim to do and what exactly you’re trying to accomplish as a game developer. Diversity and genuity is an important subject, that is what I’m trying to convince people with. Whether you’re a programmer, musician, writer or – god knows – a comedian. You will still be able to take an essential part in making a game.
Me teaching Unity game development at Youth City 2030
This is the most genuine goal I aim to achieve in the course I currently give in Youth City 2030 – Bahrain. Even though, yes I’m a technical person and I do care about “how” you can actually accomplish stuff. The sole purpose of this course is to show people how easy it is to get involved. Also, how to translate your ideas into an interactive medium, no matter how basic it was.
Sounds very nice, doesn’t it? Well yes, but as an instructor, it’s goddamn hard. I try to balance my content to deliver my session in a way that complete newbies are happy. Especially when they go back home remembering how easy it is to build a game. So, they can build on that idea to drive their passion and will to continue on their own. At the same time I try hard to teach matters that average people with some heads-up in game development would find interesting. I sure don’t want to make them bored. It is really hard to balance that. You have to be really careful and you must consider the environment you’re teaching in. Plus the fact that the audience you’re teaching is made of a very random mix of people with a different sets of skills, passions, and goals.
Now you might have heard: “teaching gives you self-satisfaction”. As it might sound very corny and rainbowish, it honestly does give you that when you’re looking for that kind of sanctification. Talking about my experience in the game development field and watching people absorbing the knowledge. Which particularly took me so much time and effort to understand. It just brings me happiness knowing that I managed to simplify the journey for these people. Simply because I do understand what it takes to gradually understand such a subject. Especially that we don’t have established educational institutes that work with the gaming medium.
Teaching is much more than a process of transferring information to a set of fresh minds, it’s more of an attitude. I do love those moments where I go and be spontaneous teaching people the beauty of game development. Moreover, on how I can influence people using it in whatever legit goal they want to involve it in. It’s just amazing to see all of these people gazing at you trying to apply every word you say in their world of imagination. It’s beautiful and very mentally-rewarding.
Nonetheless, everything that you plan might not go according to plan. Even though I’m honestly still without a stand when it comes to chasing teaching as a career. But whenever I look at the requirements needed to enroll as an instructor for university, I laugh so hard yet I get an exclamation mark on top of my head in the end. What shocks me the most is that the educational sector still believes that you have to have an academic degree. In order for you to be qualified to teach and inspire people. Isn’t this the whole purpose of education? To teach and inspire? Well, I find those people working in these institutes contradicting themselves. Especially when they ask potential instructors to have an academic degree as a mandatory prerequisite.
To me, this is totally not applicable for game development. In particular, people should be judged by their work and their portfolio to be exact. Knowing academic material doesn’t prove that you are qualified to be a good instructor. However, rather means you just passed a set of challenges that some other guy sugarcoated as a standard. Which is to measure how qualified you are, and sadly the whole world just believes it is the best way to measure qualification. The educational system in such universities needs an honest reconsideration. It should not work this way. It just hurts you to know that there are so many good people out there. With no opportunity to show people the amazing side of game development.
Teaching game development is challenging in many aspects. From keeping the attention there all the time to delivering the content. Also, making sure that everyone really comes out with a knowledge that can be put to use. It’s just harder than it seems. I’m not sure if I’ll ever consider teaching game development as a career option. But man, it’s really tempting in so many aspects. You can check out this link that takes you to the first weekly summary of the course I’m currently giving. It’s hosted under Bahrain Game Development community’s website: BGD link.
Let me know what you think about game development education and don’t forget more game dev, people!