Welcome Back Professor Processor

So today plans have been made for me to teach a course next year in Spring on programming using Processing to create experimental (and other) games. In particular, the course will be targeted at non-programmers, particularly young game designers in the second semester of a Master’s degree in game design.

All of which is really quite excellent. The course seems particularly great because it’s about providing people who aren’t code-savvy, but who may often be quite “procedure” savvy, a language to speak. In a sense, it’s a bit like teaching them to draw, perhaps, but with a more obvious (to me) pedagogy behind it.

Processing’s a great first language for lots of reasons, hence the choice for it in this course. It’s got a pretty common and clean syntax that transfers well to other languages, it’s prototyping friendly in terms of very fast turn-around between coding and compiling, and it’s a very open framework with a big (and artistic) community surrounding it.

Most of all, I like the idea of filling a particular void in these designers’ educations. Knowing how to program is, if I wanted to get pushy about it, incredibly important for absolutely everyone. For people who want to design games, it seems mandatory. In order to express your design ideas to others, it’s pretty wonderful if you can actually make something. Speak the language. It’s a liberating feeling to write code, to see something working, to interact not just with imagery or text, but with procedures and systems. There’s something special in there.

Kind of wishing I had something smart to say, but my brain’s been on hiatus all evening. Anyway, this seems like it’ll be a fun course to teach, and hopefully a fun course to take. Yay!

2 November 2010
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