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Preparation for first Meeting (3)

So, a meeting was set up and I now had to decide what I would show the PT computing to persuade him.  It was only a few days away (sometime at the start of February) and I needed to pull something together which would come across as coherent, spectacular (!) yet workable. I knew I couldnt overload him but wanted to show him that the toolset had quite a bit of depth.  I also didn't really know where it fitted in with his classes although as he had a Games Design class I was fairly sure that the toolset would strike a chord there. In the end I decided to go with :

 

* A very short module I had created which I would playtest for him as an opener. I wanted him to get the feeling that visually the results from the Toolset were  pretty stunning compared with packages currently used.  I created two areas, decked them out with a little eye candy, included a brief conversation with an NPC to get a quest, made a couple of area transitions and threw in an encounter with a few hostile goblins and ended with a quest reward.  

* A printout of the original Bioware Tutorial on Fern. This ran to 35 pages which worried me but I'd show him it with a health warning. I felt he had to see that there was a mountain of help available. 

* A short module containing a couple of other "impressive" things  ( I know they're really basic !) the Toolset could do that I'd learned such as a PC self conversation, the High Forest Elf city by Estelindis downloaded from the Vault - what a piece of work - and a couple of other things.

Armed with these I headed off to the school.

To cut to the chase, the meeting went very well. He was blown away by what could be produced in such a short space of time. During the meeting I also showed him the Vault and the materials there, especially the wealth of tutorials, explaining that the folks here had been really welcoming to me and shortened my learning curve considerably.  I also threw out the notion that, for the older pupils at least, if they showed an interest in building using the Toolset we could suggest a path through the Vault, perhaps even uploading their efforts for suggestions. This "real world" feature seemed to appeal to him as a lot of the work currently done in school stays in school. 

He did see some issues arising. It would have been surprising if he hadn't. One of these was the use of C scripting language whereas the school currently uses C++ ??? If you choose to read on as this develops you will quickly realise that my knowledge of scripting would disgrace a non-scripting grandmother ( no offence to grandmothers).  He raised the time issues and doubted whether we would have time to complete the Fern Tutorial and still allow enough time for building. 

However, reassuringly, he did acknowledge that the current approach to games design was slanted towards coding and he was keen that the pupils experience the other elements such as storytelling character development, plotlines etc. He had also been looking for an avenue to introduce the effects on a game of lighting and audio and I was able to show him very basic ( but quite visually impressive, though I say so myself)  changes in the lighting in one of my cave areas. 

The meeting ended with an agreement that we would introduce his Game Design class ( about 16 yr olds) to the Toolset this year when they had completed their coursework which should be around the end of March.  With exams not until May/June, a window of opportunity beckoned to draw up some materials and try them out on this class with a view to running with them properly next year. We would tell them that they were previewing the materials for next year's classes and ask them for their comments while hoping that a buzz was created by the Toolset which would set at least one or two off to continue building in their own time.  The current intention is to discuss using the Toolset next session with the Games Design class, a couple of the younger classes and perhaps offer an after hours building club which I ( rashly?) agreed to supervise.

A good day !

 

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