Wednesday, February 20, 2008

At GDC, students are Pikmin

If you've never played the game, Pikmin are these strange little creatures that follow you around and follow your orders. Among game professors here at GDC, to Pikmin is now a verb, referring to the act of a student following the professor around everywhere in the hopes of being introduced to some cool industry people (instead of just networking and finding people themselves). My thanks to Brenda for introducing me to this amusing word.

There is an up side to this. The students that respect you will do pretty much anything you tell them. I could tell my students to form a human pyramid, and they'd probably do it. If I were a little more playful than I actually am, I could probably have a lot of fun with this.

In reality, it means that I can coordinate with students. This year there are some time slots (I'm looking at you, Wed 2:30-3:30 and Fri 4:00-5:00) where they've got five or six really great sessions going on simultaneously. With seven students at the ready, I can coordinate things so that each session is covered by someone who takes notes, and we can all type them up and send them to each other later. This frees me up to go to the more obscure sessions, secure in knowing that I've got some spare eyes in the high-profile ones. It also frees up the students: if all of the sessions are taken care of, any excess students can hit the Career Pavillion at a time when they'll be practically the only ones there, which greatly helps their chances of being remembered.

In an ideal world, I'll also make sure the students are not just networking for themselves but for each other. As an example, suppose one of my students is a brilliant game designer, and another student is looking to be an environmental artist. If the designer finds a company looking for environment artists, instead of just saying "sorry, not interested" they can add "...but, I know someone who would be perfect for this, can I give them your card?"

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