Game developer salaries

Thought this article was pretty interesting:

The average game developer in the U.S. earned just over $83,000 USD in 2013, while Canadian and European based developers averaged a salary of $71,000 USD (up 9 percent from 2012) and $46,000 USD (no change), respectively.”

Those who hold business and management positions earned an average salary of over $101,000 USD in 2013 – the most of any discipline. Audio professionals and programmers followed closely behind, each earning average salaries of over $90,000 USD.”

League of Legends becoming a college sport?

Apparently it is. There is a league of 177 colleges that play the game competitively and now its becoming an official sport at Robert Morris University Illinois in Chicago, which means that there will be a team, a coach, and real scholarships. Kinda crazy. Here is a link to the article:

http://www.ign.com/articles/2014/06/19/league-of-legends-becoming-an-official-collegiate-sport

And an article from the university: http://www.robertmorris.edu/news/20121012weeklynews/index.html

Minecraft Lesson Plans

These are some of the sample lesson plans that my students created this semester in MIT517 – Gaming and Simulations. This was an in class activity that gave students the opportunity to play minecraft and then create a lesson plan using the game. These are student created. I am going to copy and paste one here and attach a few others.

Lesson 1

*others can be downloaded here: 1)  Game.based_Lesson.plan 2) LessonPlanActivity 3) MinecraftLesson:

Minecraft Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan/Title:   A North Carolina Colonial Minecraft Village

Concept: Students will use Minecraft to demonstrate visualization and reading comprehension skills in context of Colonial history

Grade Level: 5th grade

General Goals: Students will develop their writing skills and reading comprehension in the context of NC colonial history.

Specific Objectives:

A. Given the 5th grade Social Studies textbook chapter on Colonial NC villages and other online resources, 5th grade students will be able to work with a partner to write several paragraphs clearly describing a Colonial village that fellow students can accurately recreate in Minecraft.

B. Given another student’s written description of a NC colonial village, the student pairs will be able to accurately visualize and generate a Colonial village in Minecraft.

Required materials

1. 5th grade NC Social Studies textbook

2. pad of paper

3. pencil

4. computer

5. Minecraft software installed, in creative mode

5. Flash drive to store Minecraft model

7. Previous experience using Minecraft – students should all be familiar with basic operations and comfortable creating structures

Instructional Strategy

This activity utilizes a Problem-Based Learning approach. Teachers should introduce the problem, provide resources to students, and provide support and guidance during the process. Students will be given the following problem statement:

You and your partner are North Carolina historians. The Minecraft History Museum wants a digital model of a typical North Carolina village from the Colonial era to include in their Colonial display. You have been chosen to design this village for Minecraft experts to build. You need to describe a typical NC colonial village in 2-3 paragraphs. Your description will be the only communication you have with the Minecraft building experts, so you must be sure to write clearly.

 

Teacher guide

Students should be somewhat familiar with material related to NC Colonial villages and life. This would not be an introductory activity, but a reinforcing activity integrated with on reading comprehension and clear writing.

Divide into groups of two and give them the problem statement focused on writing a description of a NC Colonial village to be designed by fellow students to be placed in The Minecraft History Museum.

Students can use the chapter on NC Colonial villages in their Social Studies book along with web resources to write a detailed description of the village. Students may also choose to model their own village using Minecraft, by drawing, or by any other method of their choice.

The students should have between 1 and 2 hours to research and write.

They will then exchange their descriptions with another group and begin to construct the village in Minecraft based on the description written by the other group.

Groups should have about 2 hours to build the model.

Closure

Groups will receive feedback from peers and discuss with their groups. Then class will come back together for a group discussed facilitated by the teacher using the following questions:

1. How clear were the descriptions from the other group?

2. What did you find to be helpful in the descriptions?

3. What do you think could have been written to help you in building the village more accurately?

4. Let’s discuss colonial village life and how accurately we were able to really build it.

Assessment

The teacher should show multiple examples of NC Colonial villages including Minecraft models, pictures, videos, etc. in order for students to understand how to assess if the written description is on topic and accurately describes a NC Colonial village. To assess the final products, groups will read the written descriptions and use the rubric below to grade the clarity of the description. Then groups will review the models and grade how well they follow the description using the rubric below. The teacher should also assess teamwork skills based on observations.

Written Description

Total Possible Points Yes No
Description is on topic (describes NC colonial village accurately) 20
Uses correct spelling and grammar 10
Describes at least 3 buildings 15
Houses
Number/ amount in a village 5
Color 5
One other style description 5
Stores or other building
Number/ amount in a village  5
Color 5
One other style description 5
Church or other building
Number/ amount in a village 5
Color 5
One other style description 5
Describes locations of the buildings relative to each other 10
Total 100

Model

Total Possible Points Yes No
Includes all described buildings 50
Buildings are in the correct locations 10
Buildings are correct described color 10
Number of building types are correct 10
Any other buildings descriptions are followed  10
Does not include extra distracting items 10
Total 100

 

Appendix:

* 5th Grade Social Studies textbook Chapter 4: North Carolina Colonial Villages

* Pictures of Colonial Villages :

https://www.google.com/search?q=pictures+of+nc+colonial+villages+in+the+17th+century&client=firefox-a&hs=2QG&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=fflb&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=fcYwU-_ZOMbr0gH6moCIBg&ved=0CCUQsAQ&biw=1440&bih=714#channel=fflb&q=pictures+of+nc+colonial+villages+in+the+18th+century&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&tbm=isch

Facebook buys Occulus Rift

Well this was unexpected. If anything I would have thought Amazon or MS would have acquired Occulus. Needless to say when I first heard facebook was buying this I felt a bit let down but after reading through the many articles on the deal I atually think this might be a good thing. Maybe facebook was the right company to buy it. Here is a good article which describes some of the good/bad things about the acquisition:

http://www.gamespot.com/articles/why-you-shouldn-t-worry-about-facebook-buying-oculus-rift/1100-6418545/

I am currently waiting for the next generation of Occulus to arrive this summer – I have it on pre-order!

Minecraft in Education

Last night in my Gaming and Simulation class my students had the opportunity to play Minecraft (Now they are busy writing lesson plans on the game). Here is a nice video which very quick summarizes some of the uses Minecraft has in education

Virtual reality and motion sickness

Since I was just talking about this…

It looks like Occulus Rift has just hired a VR expert to help get rid of motion sickness in their vr kit: Here is a link to the article

For those new to VR and wonder about why the motion sickness happens, here is an explanation from sciencedaily.com:

“Years ago research showed that the brain can re-set an upside-down view of world to be right side up. Constantly changing images pose a bigger challenge for the brain, which has to deal with ‘lag’: the time it takes the computer system to update and display changing visual images corresponding to the users head movements. This may be a variable linked to motion sickness and other symptoms related to helmet-mounted devices.”

Project Spark – Developing your own games is getting easier

How would you like to develop your own game? Its getting easier and easier with new technology. Many schools love minecraft because it gives students the ability to create their own worlds. Many schools lack the ability to create games due to money because games cost a lot to develop. Well project spark takes those ideas and puts them together in one game. Essentially the point of project spark is to create a world, just like minecraft, except you can make it a game that you can share and the graphics are very good. Project spark is currently in beta form and not released just yet to the public. I was lucky enough to be invited to the public beta this weekend so I will post my thoughts after playing. For now, here is the link to their website.

What is project spark:

Some example games: