Introduction

UTGDDC: OMGUFTRXZORZ (sometimes)

UTGDDC: OMGUFTRXZORZ (sometimes)

Me: “OMGZ I HAZ TO JOIN DIS CULB”

Mark, previous exec: “Uhh, okay, sure. Just sign up here.”

Me: “K SWEET CUZ I HAZ TO JOINZ I EXCIT3D”

This is what occurred at the Club Fair during Frosh Week, last year. I wasn’t expecting U of T to have a video game development club. A video-game club, yes. The ‘development’ part was a surprise. A boon. Like, getting-all-the-chaos-emeralds-in-the-first-stage kind of boon.*

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Upon entering university, or perhaps leaving high school, I realized I couldn’t ask this question to new friends and persons with whom I had engaged in awkward conversation. Technically, we’re already ‘grown-up’, whatever the bleep that means. The dreamy-eyed, cloud-watching inquiry, usually met with shounen manga-like enthusiasm, has been replaced with “What do you want to do after university?”


To this, students generally cannot reply with, “I want to fly planes,” or “I want to run an art gallery.” You get something more… like… “I dunno… more school? Whatever will pay off my loans until I can find a job that will pay off my loans?”


Experts and students alike would probably agree that U of T is a great place to let your dreams die. More so if you’ve listened to what others tell you to do up until now. There’s no shame in that; no one wants to be abandoned by their family because they did not become a brain surgeon or rocket scientist, as I’m sure mine will do to me someday.

U of T can slam your face into the dirty, spitty, subway platform of reality, and show you exactly what the rest of your life will entail; equations, Milton, boring, headache inducing political rhetoric, working in a office because your actual job choice does not exist, working at a bank because ‘it’s a good job’… Working wherever because you put what you really wanted off to the side for so long, it became impossible to go back.


If you look in the right places, however… you can keep your true interests running in the background, and, at the end of it, have enough resources built up to overwrite the Windows of your life with the PRECIOUS LINUX OF YOUR DREAMS. [/wtf]


I’m exaggerating, and getting off topic. Basically, I want to go into game development, someday, somehow, and this club is really helping to keep me on track, in a way.


So, what exactly is done at the ‘University of Toronto Game Design and Development Club’, or UTGDDC, for short? Well, in short; games are made. More specifically, we discuss different development tools (e.g., this year we’ve looked at Sphere), different aspects of games that are needed for their development, games that suck, games that don’t, and whatever else related to game design we wish to discuss and/or try for ourselves. If there’s something you want to learn, tell us, and we can do stuff. Whoo. If there’s something you even want to present, you can do that too! Within the limits of reason, of course.


Then, there is the “Game Making Deathmatch” competition held every year, in which participants have three weeks to develop a game based on a given theme, or, as the name suggests, face certain, unavoidable, unfathomable, incomprehensible doom. It breaks my heart that the last day to register is the day I wrote this, as I could have made this post earlier but, oh well. (EDIT: If you truly, truly desire to register at this point in time, head over to the Computer Science Student Union office in zee Bahen Centre, and beg).

My advice to you is to join at least ONE extracurricular club. Just ONE. One related to something you can’t live without. Books, wine-tasting, origami, doesn’t matter. First, there is a good chance you’ll make friends, which is hard enough in university, harder if you commute a far distance and have no rez friends to slum with, and harder still if you’re shy. After my first few meetings, I was surprised at how friendly everyone was, and I feel comfortable tagging along to CSSU events every now and then. Being an English student, this wouldn’t have happened otherwise, and quite frankly, I never know when the English Student Union does anything! And I doubt they play video games!

Second, if your extracurricular-of-choice is related to the kind of verboten career you really want, it will keep you from insanity. You’ll have a weekly, or bi-weekly escape from the subject-post you may or may not hate.

Lastly, when your academic workload becomes suffocating, and you can’t do as much outside research as you would like, the club you choose may be able to lead you to other events/groups/seminars related to your interest. You will unwittingly find resources at your disposal. For example, there are often all kinds of career related lectures going on for the computer science students; every once in a while, a game development related one comes along. Case in point, this one, which I will write about in two weeks. Wouldn’t know this otherwise. You are in a giant, giant, giant university.   Look. Stuff. Up. You can find almost anything.

Next week I shall give you concrete examples of what UTGDDC does. 🙂

* I am aware this is impossible.