Game lecture at UoM for CSE students

Last week I got an opportunity to give a lecture (it had been sometime since I last gave a lecture at UoM) to some 80 odd 2nd year students from CSE at the University of Moratuwa. It was a 2 hour slot and a chance to give my 2 cents into the game industry and our experience creating games in Sri Lanka.

The objective of the lecture was to let the students have a feel of what game development was all about. So leaving my slides aside, I was thinking of the best way to keep them focused and give them a clear understanding on what differentiates game development from traditional software development.

So taking a hands on approach, I thought it best to have a few interactive sessions during the 2 hours, cause quite frankly I am not the one for traditional lectures, let along a 2 hour one! If anyone really wanted to learn something off slides, they would be better off just using Bing or Google to find what they want to learn.

It didn’t take me long to put a sub topic to the session: ‘The essence of innovation & creativity’. I always believed that in order to prosper we need to be creative and think outside the box. Innovation and creativity are the key ingredients to a successful game project and there would be few people (if at all) who would argue with that.

So after a few introductory slides (with brief history to gaming), it was time for them to watch a small movie clip from ‘A beautiful mind‘ . The scene where Nash and his friends are in a pub when a blonde and her friends arrive. This scene to be exact:

So a bit of details into Adam Smith and John Nash’s ‘Nash equilibrium’ and we were well into the gaming aspects. Now it was time to ‘engage’ the audience…

I had always been a fan of the ‘prisoners dilemma‘ scenario and thought that it would be a good way to demonstrate the gameplay aspect and an idea on how people in general would think (since we are in fact making games for the general public!). Being 2nd year students, they had not come across this, thus, made it a perfect exercise to bring in a few from the audience to demonstrate ‘prisoners dilemma’.

With the prisoners dilemma scenario out of the way, it was a good opportunity for me to showcase a game trailer of our mobile game ‘Colombo Ride‘ (A good time to do some marketing while we are at it).

‘Prisoner’s dilemma’ only allowed the opportunity to play more or less an one-on-one game. A game to engage with many more was in order. What better choice of game than ‘cricket’ itself. But in a lecture hall? ‘Is there room to play a game of cricket?’ one may ask. That was exactly what the intention of the session was for. To show that game makers have to think outside the box to make things happen and ensure that its fun for the user to play.

So from taking charge of things, it was time that some of the audience got the chance to take charge and be the focal point of this lecture. I call the 2 volunteers (Akila & Buddhika) who stepped up as the ‘rule makers’ and they were requested to create an atmosphere to play a game of cricket in 10 minutes to decide on a winner. They quickly went into action and from their earlier experience playing ‘one bump’ cricket, they came up with a workaround to playing a game of cricket involving 4 players (including themselves) with a time of 5 mins set for each side.

With some game dynamics in disarray, they had to settle for a draw in the first match the 2 teams played. This was because the rule that they defined to only have 1 scoring option gave a higher probability of achieving the same score (i.e. They only had the option to score 4s, if they had mixed with another option like scoring a single, then probability of getting the same score would be greater). All in all, the ‘rule makers’ and 6 of their friends were able to enjoy a different kind of cricket game and the audience was able to have a bit of fun watching it as well. The winners didn’t walk away empty handed either. Complimentary ‘Colombo Ride 3D’ branded t-shirts were given to each member of the winning team. Hope they don’t get the habit of requesting rewards for each lecture they attend from now on…

No slides for more than an hour in a 2 hour lecture seemed a bit weird so it was back to a few more slides to highlight a few game publishing companies around the globe. So from Atari to GTS Gamestudios, the audience got a brief story to each of these game publishers. There were comparisons in the way EA did its game publishing and how RockStar Games was able to think outside the box and come up with a creative game like ‘Grand Theft Auto’ which was a major hit in the game industry.

From game publishers it was down to highlighting the core essence of a game company: the team. The list shown below were discussed with details on each role and their importance. Its always good to hire the right people since 1 rotten tomato can try to ruin the core team.

  • Project Manager
  • Lead designer/ designers
  • Lead artist / artists
  • Lead programmer / programmers
  • Musician
  • Audio Engineer
  • QA Lead
  • QA Testers

With the 2 hours approaching, it was time to get into the climax and focus on some thoughts to ponder for the audience to take with them after the lecture session was long gone:

  • Be an innovator
  • Don’t do it for the money alone
  • Mix education with gaming
  • Do your research
  • Find a good team

As a bonus the audience were also given an opportunity to view the music video that we created for our mobile game ‘Colombo Ride 3D’. šŸ™‚

And then they were gone…

p.s- For those interested in viewing the complete lecture, here is the youtube link for the first one: ( Part 1 of 8 )

2 Responses to “Game lecture at UoM for CSE students”
  1. Elmo Leon says:

    seems to have been an interesting lecture!
    GAMING! what a cool subject to work on as your profession šŸ™‚

  2. Ansh Lucky Sri Jay says:

    wow, u’re so lucky.. šŸ™‚

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