Sitting at the airport clearing emails – having just flown back from Malaysia and now waiting for a plane to Samoa where I’m going to be presenting a session on blogging to a UNESCO seminar.
This, however, from eSchool News – a story about how Microsoft Corp. plans to offer a consumer version of its professional software for creating video games that run on its popular Xbox 360 console.
I’m sure there’ll be all sorts of cynicism expressed about the motivation behind this release etc etc – but from my perspective this is exactly the sort of thing that we need to be looking for – enabling our students to become creators, not just consumers, and so tap into some of the rich potential that lies within them in terms of creativity, flexible thinking and innovation.
Introducing game development into our school curriculum mightn’t be such a bad idea either – the skills and abilities that are developed can be applied in fields much wider than simply creating X-Box games. Just this week in Malaysia I was speaking with a business organisation that is about to undertake a significant project developing a training programme for the agriculture sector. Within this they are wanting to develop 3D simulations and role-playing applications – guess who the’ll need to build them?
The Microsoft product is called XNA and In their news release about the product, Microsoft says that by joining a ???creators club??? for an annual subscription fee of $99 (U.S.), users will be able to build, test and share their games on Xbox 360?? and access a wealth of materials to help speed the game development progress. This represents the first significant opportunity for novice developers to make a console game without a significant investment in resources.