Quests at ITU Copenhagen, a podcast, and other news

I was excited to see that Quests is listed as part of the required reading in a class called “Storytelling and Games: Challenges, Theories, Techniques,” which will be supervised by Espen Aarseth at ITU Copenhagen in this coming spring semester.  In fact, Quests is the first book on the required readings, followed by the Cambridge Companion to Narrative.  (The class was originally listed as being taught by the new head of the game department, Gordon Cabellas, and supervised by Aarseth.  At this point, Aarseth himself is listed as teaching.)

This news might be interesting to readers of Quests, since Copenhagen has a Center for Computer Games Research whose past and present faculty (including Aarseth himself, Susana Tosca, Jesper Juul, and Gonzalo Frasca) produce some of the finest academic game scholarship.  Aarseth specifically is famous for popularizing the term ludology to refer to the academic study of games, resulting in Aarseth being identified with an anti-narratological stance that seemed at odds with storytelling in games.  Aarseth’s decision to supervise this class tends to reinforce the notion that the diminishing intensity of the narratology/ludology debate signals a rapprochement between the representatives of both sides.

While visiting Dakota State University, I was pleased to encounter two bright students and game enthusiasts named Daniel Wise and Jim Howard who were kind enough to interview me on their Cherry Chocolate Podcast, which can be downloaded from Itunes here.

Steve Vink at The Game Creators wrote a thoughtful and positive review of Quests in the November edition of The Game Creators Newsletter.  Steve also embedded the quest spaces video in the December edition of the newsletter here.  Steve’s company produces some very exciting game development software, such as FPS Creator, aimed at young game developers.  Microsoft has bundled some of these applications with Visual Studio, suggesting that The Game Creators software could be a low-cost and accesible alternative to XNA for educators and students.

Arcana Manor development continues.  While waiting for Torque X 3.0, which will contain the crucial development software Torque X Builder 3d, I’ve been learning the 3d modeling program XSI.  Specifically, I’ve been working through a tutorial that teaches users how to model Joan of Arc.  Modeling the human form is extremely difficult and time-consuming but also rewarding, and I hope to be acquiring some of the skills that would allow me to make some of Ron and Trent’s sketches into 3d characters.  Screenshots and videos of this work will follow soon, supplementing the chapter in Quests about character design by showing some of the skills associated with creating one’s own NPC’s outside of an RPG toolset.

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