2017 was a trying year

The following blog post was sent to Google+ on Dec. 26, 2017.

2017 was a trying year for a lot of reasons, but for HOFT Institute it was the year that the Game Design & Development Lab began. Before the year ends, here are just a few milestones that had to be met in advance of the first classes beginning Jan. 22, 2018:

* Getting approval from the Texas Workforce Commission and the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training (ACCET), HOFT Institute's national accreditation agency. This took the better part of the year, during which no promotion of the program could happen! We're glad to have the go-ahead for HOFT Institute's first vocational education program, after 30+ years of avocational education programs. We want to be legitimate, first!

* Building a curriculum and base of instruction for a vocational training program to prepare students for their first job as a game developer. Thanks Sarah Abraham of UT-Austin's Computer Science department!

* Recruiting and hiring our core instructor team, with Sarah Abraham for programming, chip Sbrogna for design and Mayet Andreassen for art!

* Launching our website and accompanying program application at www.gamedevelopmentlab.com. Thanks Jason Sugawa at TheHonorRoll!

* Our inaugural presentation at the Capital Factory announcing the Game Lab, on Nov. 1. Watch on Youtube here! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pP9OpTmTQDw

* Connections made with organizations throughout Austin: EGaDS, the game development student club at UT-Austin; Video Game Makers Unite!, the speaker series at Capital Factory; Austin Game Developers; Austin Community College's Game Development Institute; Art Institutes at Austin; and game development studios doing amazing work we want our students to do professionally!

* Game On! at the Bob Bullock Museum of Texas History, on Nov. 30. Game Lab was the only educational organization with a table at this showcase of games made by teams in Austin. We were the on-site reference for everyone showcasing their own games, who got people interested in how to prepare themselves for a career in games. Thanks James Renovitch at the Austin Chronicle for inviting us!

* Portfolio Posse at HOFT Institute, on Dec. 2! A dozen reviewees at various stages in their careers, had one on one review sessions with pros from all over Austin, who gave them valuable feedback on their resumes and portfolios. First one to be offered at HOFT Institute offices, and hopefully the start of a regular tradition for anyone throughout the Austin community.

All of this feeds directly into plans we already have for the start of 2018. Leading directly out of Portfolio Posse, the HOFT Institute offices will be an Austin site for the Global Game Jam at the end of January. Program Coordinator John Henderson will be at PAX South, San Antonio's Gonzales Convention Center, in mid-January for a Saturday morning panel on breaking into the game industry.

So far to come in a short time. We are on the landing pad, ready to blast off. Everything in its own order.


John Henderson