I graduated from the Utrecht School of the Arts in 2002. Now, less than seven years later, I am mentoring a group of five students who will be doing the same come September this year. I took a photo of them today, here it is:
From left to right, here’s who they are and what they’re up to:
- Christiaan is tech lead on Hollandia, an action adventure game inspired by Dutch folklore. His research looks at ways to close the gap between creatives and technologists in small teams, using agile techniques.
- Kjell is designing a series of experimental games using voice as their only input. He’s researching what game mechanics work best with voice control.
- Maxine is game designer on the aforementioned Hollandia game. Her research looks at the translation of the play experience of physical toys to digital games. (In of Hollandia, you’ll be using a Wiimote to control the spinning top used by the heroine.)
- Paul is building a physics-based platform puzzle game for two players. His research looks at the design of meaningful collaborative play.
- Eva is making a space simulation game with realistic physics and complex controls. She’s researching what kinds of fun are elicited by such games.
Practically speaking, mentoring these guys means that I see them once a week for a 15-minute session. In this we discuss the past week’s progress and their plans for the next. They’ve set their own briefs, and are expected to be highly self-reliant. My task consists of making sure they stay on track and their work is relevant, both from an educational and a professional perspective. It’s challenging work, but a lot of fun. It forces me to make explicit the stuff I’ve picked up professionally. It’s also a lot about developing a sense for where each student individually can improve and encouraging them to challenge themselves in those areas.
I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ll deliver come September, when it’s their turn to graduate, and go out to conquer the world.