My name is Rob Garfield. In an interview recently, my interviewer applied the subject phrase as a description of my diverse and chaotic background. It felt so affirming that I decided to adopt it as the title of my first post. In my darkest hours of self-questioning and general dissatisfaction with the seeming lack of virtue of a single path in my life, I can look to it as a beacon of hope and definition.
At least until something better comes along. ;)
I graduated college sometime back in the 1800's with a degree in English Literature. After bumming around a bit, I decided to go back to school and get an MFA in poetry. I went to Brooklyn College for a brief time where I had the great fortune to study with Allen Ginsberg. Afterwards, I pursued a "career" as a poet and literary editor in New York for a few years before the publishing "game" started getting to me. My finances weren't in great shape either. So I latched on to the corporate finance world as a technical writer and later a tools developer.
After some years of corporate angst, I threw it all up to head back to school for game development. At Full Sail Real World Education, I learned how to create computer games and specialized in artificial intelligence programming. We learned how to build computer games from the ground up -- how to design them, program them, develop assets for them and organize teams to develop them.
After graduation, I was recruited by the school as an instructor there and spent over 2 years teaching students the finer points and necessities of pre-production in developing software. Curriculum Development became part of the mix when Full Sail transitioned from an Associate's to a Bachelor's degree.
As an instructor, I "produced" hundreds of student games and became well versed in the rapid software development (3-5 month cycles).
The last 2 years I spent designing and programming military simulations for a company in Orlando. At this position, I worked with various development environments and engines (e.g. Unreal) and developed for proprietary input and feedback devices. Our clients included DARPA and other governmental organizations.
Currently, I hold a position at Columbia's Center for New Media Teaching and Learning where our goal is to facilitate the purposeful use of new media in the classroom and beyond. We focus on furthering education by creating new models of learning that incorporate the finest residue of the technological boom.
I plan on approaching this blog with an open mind about subject matter. That said, simulations (and serious games in general), player experience, multiplayer communities, educational uses of games and just plain discussions of games and game systems will comprise the bulk of my non-autobiographical writing.
Nice to meet you all. I hope this will be the beginning of a long relationship.