"Play Games All Day" was the presentation that Mark James, Director of Technology, 2K Games gave to our TLCoding Lab Students as part of the TLTalks Special Speaker Series--an enrichment program designed to inspire our students beyond their academic classes at TL. Most TL Coding students had only a vague idea of what it would be like to work in the video game industry, but James' discussion really created a thorough and accessible understanding of the experience and expertise required to work in the competitive world of the gaming industry. Our students learned that software developers do way more than "Play Games All Day!
Through artful visual metaphors James segmented the software development into 4 categories: Creative, Rendering, Physics and Game Design. He then gave examples roles and work experience for each category;--and how they work with other categories to develop aspects of the video game under the lead of the Technology Director. Our students realized that there are many people, sometimes a small army, to create a successful commercial game. Communication and collaboration were key skills of successful teams in game development. As Director of Technology, James shared how he enjoyed leading the cross collaboration between the development groups, and all games at 2K.
Also, it was interesting to learn that at the C based languages: C++, Objective-C and C# were fundamental to program software in the gaming industry. James kept it real in terms of the extensive skill sets, professional experience and expertise to actually work at one of the top game development companies. Advanced math and physics are fundamental to game design and engineering in gaming. "2K won't even consider you for an internship until your at a senior level in college," said James. Many of our students understood that a solid foundation in computer science and math is the gateway to a professional role in any top gaming company.
"Keep making toys and games ...and that one day you will apply that creativity to your video game" encouraged James. "When I was about your age...I spent many hours in my bedroom teaching myself to code and how to make simple video games," and James encouraged them to stick with it! James is a self taught software engineer. James has been a leader in development at many of the top companies in the gaming industry including: Disney Lucas Arts, and Sony. He now is Director of Technology across all game titles at 2K. 2K Games develops and publishes interactive entertainment globally for console systems, handheld gaming systems and personal computers, including smartphones and tablets, which are delivered through physical retail, digital download, online platforms and cloud streaming services. 2K publishes titles in today’s most popular gaming genres, including shooters, action, role-playing, strategy, sports, casual, and family entertainment.
The 2K label includes some of the most talented development studios in the world today, including Firaxis Games, Visual Concepts, Hangar 13, Irrational Games, 2K Marin, 2K Australia, 2K Czech, Cat Daddy Games and 2K China. 2K’s stable of high quality titles includes the critically acclaimed BioShock®, Borderlands™ and XCOM® franchises, the beloved Sid Meier’s Civilization series, the popular WWE 2K franchise and NBA 2K, the #1 rated and #1 selling basketball franchise. 2K is headquartered in Novato, California and is a wholly owned label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.
Thanks so much to Mark James for his generosity, inspiration, and also mentoring our eager students at TLCoding Lab! And also a HUGE shout out from our students for the cool 2K swag!!!!