And that’s the end of that chapter….

Yesterday was my last day at UW as a postdoc with the LIFE Center, the Institute for Science and Math Education, and the Center for Game Science.

I’ve decided to pursue a few research projects that I think would best be done while not distracted by a day job.

Namely, I’ll be reviewing an ass-ton of free game making tools, while also playing around with game interface design and some simple game design in the process. I’ve gathered a list of over 2 dozen free tools out there covering all sorts of game genres: adventure games, RPGs, platformers, interactive fiction, etc. My hope is to 1) get back into game design, practice art, try out some ideas, 2) produce a document/series of blog posts that is useful to a k16 educator who wants to incorporate game design into their existing courses (whether that’s English, social studies, math, or whatever) but doesn’t know which tool is appropriate for their needs, and 3) get ready to teach a course on game design in the spring at Pepperdine. What’s great about this teaching gig is that it’s primarily an online course (with face-to-face meetings bookendings), so I can stay in Seattle.

Anyway, I’m also hoping to play a ton of games, as I’ve accrued quite a backlog over the last few years. Look at my Steam profile. Most of those games I haven’t played yet.

First up: the remake/sequel to X-COM, named… XCOM!

Yes, that X-COM. The game that I used to wake up at 5 in the morning some days to play before classes while a senior at Reed College. The game that I used to stay up til the wee hours for. It was the only time in my life when I could be totally fine with 5 hours of sleep per night for weeks. The game that started my love affair with the turn-based squad-based tactics genre (Jagged Alliance capturing my heart in later years). What’s funny is that at the time, I felt like nobody knew what I was talking about when I described these games. I always wondered why the creators of the original X-COM moved onto smallish projects, thinking they were underdogs, not capturing people’s attention. (Anyone remember that email tactics game?) And now, sort of out of the blue, X-COM is getting a massive, big budget remake. Looking forward to it. I hope Julian Gollop is getting props.

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