One of the oldest Danish Folk High Schools launches a new course called “Askov School of Game Design” this fall, aiming to teach game development using an approach known to many Game jamming developers.
“The course is inspired by the Game Jam approach to games. Many smaller projects rather than a few larger. Both because I believe it facilitates a better learning process, but also because it’s a great way to keep the scope of the projects limited, which is something that often stalls, and eventually kills, many ‘my-first-game’ projects.”, Head of the Game Design course, Jesper Krogh Kristiansen, starts out as he describes the new track.
The first 20 students will be able to start this August, and the plan is to expand the education from thereon. And Kristiansen says that the aim is to enable anyone to start learning game development, effectively removing any prerequisites for joining the half-year program.
“There are no prerequisites to entering into the course. We start out with very basic tools, such as Twine and Game Maker, and work our way to Unity from there.”, he says.
Just as with game jams, experimenting with games is a top priority at Askov School of Game Design – something that is made possible because the school does not have any grades nor exams for the students.
Instead, the students will be free to do all the crazy projects they normally would only dream about, Kristiansen says:
“One of the wonderful things about the Danish Folk High School system is, that there are no grades or exams, which gives us a huge amount of freedom to do crazy stuff, just to do it! So we can explore all of the weird nook and crannies of the games medium, we come across.”.
And the goal of the new education is rather clear too; the course aims democratize game development.
“Our hope is, to get more young people to try and make their own games. To put it bluntly – we want to democratize game development.”, Kristiansen says.
This may sound like a huge endeavor – and it is. But through partnerships with larger Danish game educations, Askov School of Game Design hopes to be able to act as an entry level education for anyone who is interested in game development, but not yet ready to commit 3 years at a university to the industry.
“The tools for making games have become so accessible now that it is possible for practically everybody to make their own game. This is not to say that we expect everybody to go out and become game developers right after this course. No matter how effective we are, becoming a full-fledged game developer in just 5 months is not really realistic.”
“However, we do hope that a lot of our students will end up at some of the longer game development educations. As an example, we have an excellent partnership with the game educations in Grenaa, to make a transition into a multi-year game development education as easy as possible.”, Kristiansen explains.
Apart from the new Game Design course, the Askov Folk High School offers several other courses – most notably a course for aspiring journalists, and over the years, the goal is to have several of these current course work closely together with the new Game Design course, Kristiansen concludes:
“We will also have a specific focus on serious games and newsgames, as the Askov Folk High School also houses one of the most popular courses for aspiring journalists. So we plan to use them to try and build news games or serious games that can work in part to communicate a specific message, and in part to make a complex situation more understandable.”
You can signup for the new course – or read more about the school – here.