Is it possible to have too much fun?

I’m busier than I think I’ve ever been – but having more fun working on cool stuff than I ever have, too! My blog has been slow lately, and is likely to be even slower for the next two weeks, so I certainly wanted to explain. Last week I finished and submitted a long feature for Gamasutra, the coolest game portal on the Web. The feature is basically an extension of and update to the paper in which KPL was submitted to SIGGRAPH 2006. Not sure when the Gamasutra article will appear yet, but it’s likely at least a month out.

This week, I am collaborating with folks at the University of Washington on a research grant proposal, in response to this RFP on Computer Science and Gaming, from Microsoft Research. Our proposal is a fun one, testing the use of XNA + Xbox 360s + Phrogram as a more engaging and rewarding way to teach introductory Computer Science at the university level. If we don’t increase both enrollment and retention, I’ll go work on accounting systems. 😀

On Friday, in a separate connection with Microsoft Research, I’m presenting KPL and Phrogram there on Microsoft’s campus. Our contacts at Microsoft have mainly been with other teams to this point, so I’m very much looking forward to demoing and discussing with the researchers at MSR.

Next week, our first Phrogram book is due to our editors: Create Your Own Computer Games with Phrogram. It’s coming together nicely, and I hope will be the first of a series. This first one takes an absolute beginner up to writing and understanding their own version of the classic Pong! – the video game that launched the video game revolution – in just 75 pages, and a week or two of study.

Week after next, I am flying to Recife, Brazil (old beach city, early spring, lots of history and little white churches!), to give a keynote at SBGames (Symposium Brazilian on Games). It’s Latin America’s biggest game conference – and to this point, Latin America is leading the world in using KPL and Phrogram as part of Computer Science curriculum. Glad to visit! Here’s the title and abstract of what I’ll talk about. Sound interesting?

When User-Created Content Meets Gaming: A Revolution is Coming User-created content is arguably the hottest trend in computing today, as demonstrated by the global success and impact of Wikipedia, MySpace, YouTube and others. Games also continue to be a very important and growing business, with 100% growth in sales from 1995 to 2005, and 50% further growth projected from 2005 to 2010. Recent technology is – for the first time in decades – allowing everyday users to create their own graphical and game programs. This change is setting up a coming creative revolution in gaming which will inevitably result when this statement is true: “If you can read and you can type, you can create your own computer games.” This presentation will summarize the data that defines these trends and opportunities, will offer live demonstrations of KPL and Phrogram which show that this revolution has already begun, and will project near-future implications of these changes.

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2 thoughts on “Is it possible to have too much fun?

  1. André says:

    Hello Mr. Schwartz,
    I am attending SBGames this year and I am really looking forward your keynote. I used to teach basic programming and definitely it’s not that easy with some common languages out there. You got me interested in KPL and Phrogram. See you in Recife!
    Best regards,
    André Kishimoto

  2. theschwartz says:

    Hello André,

    I’m looking forward to the conference, and the visit to Brazil! Please do say hello if you have a chance – I’d always like to hear thoughts and experiences of someone who used to teach basic programming.

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