When I first moved out here to Portland I wasn't sure if I'd be going back to school. After all, school is expensive and coming up with out of state tuition is not my idea of a good time. However, as things worked out I was able to get in and take some classes at a "discounted" rate. So, I decided to squeeze in a couple of classes this semester. What does that have to do with gaming. Well, while I was looking through the course catalog and I noticed a class on game development - I like games so, I figured what the heck. So far, it's been an interesting little class - although still very "Game Development 101". The course uses two books, Game Development Essentials: An Introduction (which for some reason has Assassin's Creed on the cover) and The Game Maker's Apprentice: Game Development for Beginners. The Game Development Essentials book is basically book one in a series of "development" textbooks. This first book is basically an overview of the game development process. The book starts out with a chapter to bring the reader up to speed with the birth and growth of the game industry. From there it goes on to cover various player types, game types, story telling, level design, character design, interface design and some other things haven't reached yet. It never goes too deep into the subject matter since it's an introductory book but, it's just enough that it's still an interesting read. The Game Maker book covers the use of Yoyo Games Game Maker software. Game Maker is a package which will allow even a novice to create a working computer game - in fact the majority of simple games can even be accomplished with no programming at all. I've seen Game Maker used a few times in the past for rapidly prototyping game play ideas. Also, there is a great freeware RTS known as Battleships Forever which shows off a well thought out project could be like using the software. Anyway, we're just now five weeks into the semester so, it's time to start thinking about the final project which will be designed and built using Game Maker. I'm not sure yet if we have an assigned topic or if we can do what we want but, I should find out soon. Once I find out I'll probably write up some thoughts and ideas and post them up here.