Skip to main content

A Feel for the Hardware: Instrumental Rationality in Game Programming

Dr. Casey O'Donnell
Telecomm, MSU
11am Friday, Nov. 30, 2012
Software engineers working in game development often talk about their work in interesting ways. They talk about having a feel for "every transistor and chip inside that thing," when discussing game consoles and the labor of making games. In this lecture, I examine the work of engineers in the game industry and the "instrumental play" that characterizes what many of them see as missing from young undergraduates. Instrumental play characterizes a mode of engaging with the underlying software and hardware of game systems that is often distinguished by a simultaneously logical and intuitive exploration. This lecture also explores the complex intersection of engineering, art and design that occurs throughout the game development process.

Casey O'Donnell is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media at Michigan State University. His research examines the creative collaborative work of videogame design and development. This research examines the cultural and collaborative dynamics that occur in both professional "AAA" organizations and formal and informal "independent" game development communities. His research has spanned game development companies from the United States to India. His research examines issues of work, production, copyright, as well as third world and postcolonial aspects of the videogame development workplace. Casey is also an active game developer, releasing his first independent game, "Osy," in February of 2011.
Dr. Yiying Tong