Tuesday, November 22, 2005

ET 42 Game Development

Here is the email I just sent my AET instructor, Jeannie Novak, requesting that I upgrade my Santa Monica College transcripts to reflect 3 units of credit rather than the 1 unit I received for her ET 42 Principles of Game Development course at the Academy of Entertainment and Technology. I highly recommend this course to anyone interested in Game Development. Even if you have merely an interest in working in the video game industry, yet have no background on what it takes, you will feel welcome and quickly learn from the ground up what it takes to succeed in this growing entertainment industry. I highly recommend her book, Game Development Essentials, as well. Additionally, she just completed a book entitled Game Story & Character Development. Check them out. And the best part of her course is that you now have a valid educational justification to play video games!

-- Des Manttari,
Phoenix Genesis

(c) 2005: Phoenix Genesis/MBS LP

---------------- MY EMAIL TO JEANNIE NOVAK-----------------

November 22, 2005.



Dear Jeannie,

As per our previous conversations, here is my written formal request to you to have my ET42 Game Development course from the Academy of Entertainment and Technology in which I received an A from you this semester to be considered a 3 unit class rather than a 1 unit class. I hope you can forward my request to Bill Lancaster, chair of AET, and that this matter be successfully resolved.

As you know, I took your ET42 course when it was a 3 unit, 16 week offering during the Spring semester 2005. Due to circumstances outside my control, I was forced to drop out of the course after 12 successful weeks of work and regular attendance and participation. Since it was too late to seek an official withdrawal or incompletion from your course, I received a grade of F. At the time I left the course, I had an A standing. Had I been able to complete the course, I am confident that I would have received a grade of A.

I enrolled again in your ET42 course during this Fall semester 2005, but the course had mysteriously been changed from the 3 unit 16 week course to a 1 unit, 8 week course. To date, although I have made a formal written request for public records under the California Public Records Act regarding why such an important course offering was downgraded, I have received no documentation in support. As it stands, the course is still listed as a 1 unit course for Spring 2006. I feel this course is a foundation to future courses in game development at AET and given your outstanding teaching abilities, knowledge, and encouragement toward your students, it is a shame that this course is not recognized by AET as one deserving of more attention. As we all agreed, the course felt rushed this time around and the students felt that there was more to offer and learn and that we were at an educational disadvantage given the under-the-gun time frame that was thrust upon us.

Given the success of the final group project, I feel that the Academy would benefit from an advanced course taught by you (with 3 full units and 16 weeks) in which we would have a semester long group project, with computer lab privileges and internet connectivity in the classroom, whereby we could work longer on a video game project which could be a showcase to the Academy to draw in the much needed enrollment. Additionally, such a class and project could be used to obtain much needed internships and job offerings and placement in the video game entertainment industry for our students given your connections in the industry and your knowledge and teaching of project management and industry career opportunities.

Sadly, perhaps this is only a dream, but it is one I see so clearly as strongly beneficial to the students. Even if we could get our foot in the door as game testers, this would be a start which would establish the strong industry partnerships and relationships we so desperately need at AET. Even Bill Lancaster admitted that our current industry partners do little more than sit idly on our AET advisory board. As the public records I recently received from Robert Sammis regarding AET's correspondence with Electronic Arts indicate, there was allegedly no correspondence or documentation to support any findings that the Academy had any meaningful dialogue with Electronic Arts in terms of internships and job placements. Given your strong ties with key developers at Electronic Arts, the AET students could greatly benefit from integrating our work from your course into possible future employment at AET, even if as mere interns. As it stands, Electronic Arts is gravitating toward other schools such as USC and UCF'S Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA) located in Orlando.

Anyway, I hope your class is going well this second session and that it will be returned to its 3 unit, 16 week status in the Fall Semester 2006.

Regarding my justification for the 3 units rather than the 1 unit I received, it is outlined as follows:

1. I completed the video game review assignment with a grade of A.

2. I took the midterm during Spring Semester with a grade of 99.

3. I emailed you the industry presentation I was going to undertake in Spring 2005.

4. I completed the Game Design Document for my Holocaust educational game, "The Roar of the Beast" including the extra credit for artwork. I took your sound advice and revised my project accordingly, improving it tremendously thanks to you. I resubmitted it as a Game Design pitch for Fall semester 2005.

5. I additionally went well beyond the requirements of my Holocaust game. I created gameplay flowcharts for the screens to be used in the game, character flowcharts, story trees, character bios for numerous playable and non-playable characters. I wrote the complete full-length screenplay for the game and possible animated film. I also integrated all this hard work into a CD-ROM which I submitted to you in Spring semester 2005. I also included environments, maps, a bestiary, and other key elements which are essential to a game. Additionally, I did massive amounts of research for this project which I have retained in hopes of continuing on with this project. In total, I worked late into the night and early mornings on my "Roar of the Beast" project for 8 long weeks while also working during the day as Jim Keeshen's teaching assistant in three of his courses and further helping him in cancer research for his seriously ill father. How I managed to successfully juggle all these responsibilities is beyond my comprehension, but I tried to place 100 percent of myself into my work and studies, both of which I valued highly.

6. In Spring Semester 2005, I did a thorough industry analysis of Konami which I created as a web page, complete with illustrations, and uploaded online. I presented my analysis in class and fielded questions from you and the students. I received an A on this project.

7. In Fall Semester 2005, I did a career analysis on what it takes to be a Game Producer. Not only did I submit this in writing to you via the internet, but I gave my presentation before the class with Ever. I met with him and worked on this project and we both discussed in detail this video game career opportunity and again answered any and all questions posed to us by you and the class. For all this hard work, I again received an A.

8. During Spring Semester 2005, we were to undertake a group project in select groups. I had put together a group that was willing to adapt the historically based novel "Arminius." I checked out numerous books from USC's library, bought books on Roman and the Celts including the "Arminius" novel at a great personal expense to me, and undertook massive amounts of research on the subject. However, I was unable to complete this project due to having to leave school on such short notice.

9. Additionally, I read your outstanding textbook, took extensive notes, attended all your classes, and regularly participated in class, offering information and answering your questions. I felt that I was very motivated and enthusiastic, thanks to you, and contributed greatly to the overall course.

10. Finally, in Fall Semester 2005, I participated in the in-class final exam. During this exam, I was one of the leaders in the project, acting as Game Producer. I was the one who suggested doing the game adaptation of the successful TV show the Family Guy. As you know, the room lit up with enthusiasm and we placed our hearts and souls into developing this game project. I feel that our overwhelming success under such unexpected pressure and time constraint is a tribute to all you taught us during the semester about game development and project management. I hope you continue to utilize this assignment again for the final in your current course. As I indicated previously, given more time to work on this project, this could have been something we could have potentially submitted to Fox for their consideration and something which could have been used as a showcase to attract more game development students to AET. For this final project I received an A.

This is the complete work I did in your course for the last two semesters. With the first 12 weeks I completed and the last 8 weeks, I finished a total of 20 weeks, well over the mandatory 16 week requirement for successful completion of 3 units of work. Additionally, the extra work I did well over either course requirement alone should be enough to justify the 3 meager units I request to completely remove the grade of F I received in the Spring 2005 semester and the grade of A I received this semester.

Thank you for your prompt response to my formal request. I want to personally thank you again for all you have taught me in both your ET42 Game Development Course as well as your ET4 eCommerce course. I apply the knowledge you have so selflessly taught me on a regular basis and feel you have been a tremendous asset in my education at the Academy of Entertainment and Technology.

I would like to take your ET3 Principles of Project Management course offered for the Spring Semester 2006 at AET, but sadly, I went to register online Saturday night and a wrongful and unexplained "disciplinary" hold has been placed on my SMC enrollment. I have emailed SMC to clear this up, but have yet to receive a response. Hopefully, I will be able to resolve this matter expediently and enroll in your course. I know you have more to offer me in my education and look forward to another opportunity to take a course with you.

Very Truly Yours,
Des Manttari

Feel free to link or print this; just include the SAVE SMC URL: http://savesmc.blogspot.com/

Technorati Tags: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home