Wednesday, 9 July 2008

My new Job

Ok today is a big day, I’ve had the contracts for a few days now, and even though I made up my mind to take the job pretty much as soon as it was offered I wanted to be 125% sure in my mind I was doing the right thing, then give myself time to change my mind if I had any doubts…I have no doubts.

Today I put my signature on the contracts, and tomorrow I post them. This is such a huge break for me but I’ve decided that to not take the chance would be the stupidest thing I’ve ever done…well maybe the 2nd stup…no third….oh actually….I’ve done a lot of really stupid things…but the time has come to stop adding to that list.

I’ve been a games programmer for so long that even though I’ve enjoyed occasional forays outside of games, I’ve missed it and come back to it as soon as the chance has arrived. Its sorta in my blood, I love coding, I’m never happy when I’m away from my PC for too long.

So, this job, which rather came out of the blue as the result of a harmless enquiry for more information has to be something very special to get me excited.

I’m going to teach…more specifically, I’m going to teach games programming….A fantastic way to use up all that horrible knowledge I’ve accumulated, forgotten, re-found and re-forgotten, but not have to worry about the pressure of constantly producing product.

From the end of August, I will be a lecturer in games programming at NHTV in Breda Holland…..

Holland, the land of my ancestors (my great grandfather was Dutch and hence the abbreviated Dutch surname).

Holland a clean polite friendly country where I can escape from the politics,filth and growing bigotry I’m finding all around me here in the UK.

Holland which is only a 50quid flight back to Bradford if I want to see my friends and family and more importantly if they want to come see me.

Holland a place where I can have a “shmoke and a pancake”…except I don’t smoke and pancakes contribute to my flatulence problems.

Holland…where something something blah blah..nice things etc.

Fortunately (almost) everyone speaks English there so I don’t think I’ll have too much trouble settling in and the University is providing help with relocation and helping with all the paperwork. I’ll try to pick up a few key phrases though;
“Where’s the loo?”
“Sorry that was me, just light a match.”
”Do I get a discount for 2?”
Stuff like that.

So why the change? Simple I need to change, I’m old, boring and have a flatulence problem cause by the ingestion of large amounts of junk food over a period of many years. If I don’t do this, I’ll probably end up dead in a tragic methane explosion related accident.

And the really great thing is, I can still write games, I’ve got lots of free time and holidays to be able to continue development of my game engine and take on small/medium sized projects which I can fit around me rather than having to take anything that’s going because I need the work, and stick to harsh deadlines. A plus point would be if I can hopefully involve my students in the process to get a real understanding of what’s involved.

Its been a major bugbear of mine for some years, that when I was in positions where I hired people, the quality of graduates who came from games development courses was usually pretty dire. There’s multiple reasons for this, the politics of the UK university system, the bums on seats mentality of many universities, the simple addition of the word games to a media course to get more students who end up with no real understanding of what writing games involves. Etc…this is a rant for another time.

So…to solve the problem, get in there and do it yourself. And that’s what I plan to do. NHTV is very firm in its approach to getting genuine industry pro’s involved in the courses so that the students can learn from people who are actually doing what they aspire to do. I think that’s the most logical and sensible approach I’ve ever come across and want to support that as best I can.

So…Goodbye full time freelance games coding, Hello. full time games programming teaching and part time freelance game coding/consultant/production……(will that fit on a free business card do you think, they usually only let you have 20 characters??


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