Saturday, April 23, 2005

Ninjaneering GameCamp! to open (with fiber, of course)

A press release came in over the transom last week that could well be of interest to readers of this list. If you are or have a 13-17 year old who would benefit more from learning how to make video games than playing them all summer, you should consider the new GameCamp! program at UL.

Ninjaneering is the Austin gaming firm that agreed to help design a new curricula for the hot area earlier this year based substantially on the vision shown by Lafayette's proposed fiber optic project. Advocate coverage then noted that:
"Part of the attraction of Lafayette is the plan of the Lafayette Utilities System to install a fiber-optic network, Zuzolo said.

"It interests us greatly," he said of the plan. "Lafayette is going to have the network and the pipeline for content. We have to make sure that, where ever we go, we have the infrastructure."

The fact that LUS, which is owned by the people, is laying the fiber is "huge" for Lafayette, Zuzolo said.

"It's a great asset for the community, and it fits well with the goals we have, in helping business develop around the game industry," Zuzolo said.

The philosophy of and the administration of the university also was an attraction, Zuzolo said.

"They are very forward looking about what they want to do, and they have a broader appreciation of game technology and the skill sets students will learn," Zuzolo said.

That'll be a common attitude, I'm sure. People with growing future-oriented businesses are interested in working with communities that share that orientation and understand that communications networks are essential infrastructure for their businesses. Public ownership is a plus for such businesses as it is proof-positive that the communities they come to aren't merely mouthing platitudes but are willing to invest in themselves in the same way entrepreneurs invest in their own companies.

Here's a quote from the Advertiser's story at that time:
"Expanding is a distinct possibility. We'd love to open a Ninjaneering Lafayette. We'd really like for the students to have somewhere here that they can practice what they're learning and certainly the last thing you want is for the students to go to Boston or New York or San Francisco to find work," he said. "Ideally, you'd want students interested in it getting their education here, making games here and then breaking into entrepreneurship and starting a game design company here."
Persistent rumors on the floor of TechSouth had SGI talking with Mayor Durel about just such issues...we just need to stand firm.

Oh yeah....Here is the press release....
Do you know a child who's crazy about computer video games? Wish something constructive could come from all that game playing?

This summer, the University of Louisiana @ Lafayette plays host to GameCamp!, a college-preparatory summer intensive program for students aged 13 to17 who are interested in computer games, and careers in the multi-billion dollar computer game industry!

GameCamp! will be held from July 31st to August 7th, 2005. Parents can choose between having their children attend GameCamp! on a commuter basis (days only) or residential basis (overnight accomodations in UL dorms).

GameCamp! is affiliated with Ninjaneering, LLC, an Austin-based computer game company that serves a host of top-flight clients including Electronic Arts, NCSoft, the University of Texas and the US Army. In January, Ninjaneering entered into a relationship with UL to assist with development of curriculum for the new degree program in Game Design to be offered by the University.

More information about GameCamp! is available in the attached flyer, and at www.gamecamp.org. Parents interested in learning more about GameCamp! can also contact the camp Director Spencer Zuzolo at 512.796.4363.

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