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Gentlemen, start your game engines: building addictive worlds

Bad games can either make you throw your controller at the screen or inspire you to design better ones. If you think you can do better or are just interested in making games, a game design course like that offered by School of Game Design is one way to go to acquire the necessary skills. Game design isn’t producing a polished product, but sketching out the rules and strategies of games at the pre-production stage.

Kaboom! Create killer comics

If you are into comic books, it can seem that their creators are so far beyond the rest of us in skill and imagination that only they have the divine right to produce comic books. The fantastic epics that roll off the presses and into comic book stores seem to be born in another realm to which mere mortals have no access. Yet if you stop to think about it, those people had to start somewhere and were once shaky novices producing forgettable work.

Thinking in yellow: the philosophy of The Simpsons

Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons, studied philosophy at college. Astute viewers will have noted the many references to philosophy in the show – Homer, for one, is so named as a nod to a great thinker (but he thinks it comes from baseball). Critics have noted for a long time that the show does more than merely play with philosophy. Rather than mentioning clever stuff in passing to show its creator’s erudition, the Simpsons actually does philosophy.

Fingerprints 2.0: DNA forensics

Have you ever wanted to solve a crime? It seems to be a common fantasy – stepping into the shoes of a flinty-eyed detective, assessing the evidence and leaving no stone unturned to tighten the net around the criminal until he is forced to confess. These days a lot of that work is done via forensic science. There are quite a lot of games on the Google Play and Apple Stores based on forensic TV shows like CSI and NCIS in which you analyse the evidence to deduce who committed the crime.

Making learning sticky: Instructional Design

If you have ever taken an eLearning course, do you remember the essentials of it now? Did it get the knowledge into your head in an engaging way that helped you to retain it? If the answer is yes, you were lucky enough to have taken a course created by a good instructional designer. Instructional Design is the practice of creating learning experiences which make the acquisition of knowledge efficient, effective and appealing.

A comedy course? You must be joking

Stand-up comedy is an interesting instance of the nature vs. nurture debate. Are good comedians just naturally funny people, or have they painstakingly crafted their acts over hundreds of performances so they can push our laughter buttons and get results?