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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here.

Welcome back after the chaos of last week. This time around, I'm talking to my very good friend Alan Jamieson (also known as Ripark in the gaming community.) Alan and I met back during my Reality Check Games days in Greenville, SC, where he was instrumental in helping to build a very strong gaming community. We've both moved on since then, but we'd both still rather be running a game store. Ahh memories... 

Anyway, without further delay, I give you NINE Questions with Dr. Alan C. Jamieson:


1. Where are you from?
Southern Maryland by way of Kansas, Texas, Georgia, New Orleans and South Carolina.  Columbus, GA is probably where I would call my hometown.

2. What do you do and, equally important, where do you do it?
I am a visiting assistant professor of computer science at St. Mary's College of Maryland.  We are a small public honors college on the banks of the St. Mary's River.  We have some of the best and brightest from the region and we expose our students to as many different experiences as we can.  In CS we have all the courses that a traditional curriculum offers as well as Topics courses that range from Game Development to Bioinformatics.  We are very active in using XNA in an academic environment and we are hoping to send two entries to Dream Build Play this year.  If you take any of my courses you'll get the opportunity to see all of my fantastic Hawaiian shirts.

3. How did you end up teaching at St. Mary's College? 
4 very long years in grad school.  I realized pretty soon in my college career that I did not want a typical programming job.  When I first got a chance to teach and do research it hooked me, so that's what I do.

4. So you're a CS professor and you've achieved some notoriety in certain gaming circles. What's something most people don't know about Alan?
I'm a pretty good cook.  I enjoy doing the Asian cuisine thing due to my heritage, but I dabble in a bit of all genres.

5. You went to GDC this year... what are your thoughts on the conference? How was your overall experience? Is it worth doing again?
Yep, for the first time.  It was an awesome conference even though due to financial issues we were not able to attend a good number of the sessions.  We got lots of contacts with individual game studios, got to see some great presentations (the Portal dev folks were awesome) and we're hoping to go again.  I get a bit geeked out when I'm given cool freebies and there were a lot to be had.  Lots of stuff to see, lots of folks to talk to.  I think I managed to completely lose my voice from talking up the college to game development folks.  We did take three students with us and from the feedback we got they believed it was an invaluable experience.  Like I mentioned before, it would have been fantastic to do the whole week, but the price makes it difficult to do so when we're looking at taking students with us.  Maybe there's some kind hearted, altruistic company reading this blog that can help us out for the future.  Please?

6. I know you've been working to set up a relationship with Microsoft Academic, for your game development curriculum. How is that going?
I did get in touch with the MS Academic Evangelist in the area (Cy Khormaee) early in the spring and was also put in touch with other academics doing something similar to what we are planning.  We're currently in the planning phase of a great number of things including setting up a multidisciplinary studio here at SMCM specifically for game development.  Right now we have some planning to do before getting Microsoft back involved.

7. That's terrific news. So, what are your thoughts on the whole social networking boom? Twitter, Facebook, etc...
I'm not ready to make a decision on the social networking thing.  I'm on Facebook and Twitter and I use them both a decent amount.  There are many academics out there that are hopping on the social networking bandwagon and tying it in to their classroom activities.  Some of their ideas work, some of their ideas don't work and a lot depends on the type of class you're running.  I suppose I'm looking at them more as a tool than anything else at the moment.

8. You and your wife (Hi Lindsay!) both have a PhD in CS, which I assume means you're pretty damn technical. What are some non technical hobbies you have?
Eh, even though I have a PhD in CS, I'm not super technical.  While I do plenty of techy fun stuff these days as part of my job, my original research discipline is in theoretical CS.  It's much more mathy which is funny since I have a serious dislike of math.  Wait, what was the original question?  Oh yeah, I'm a serious gamer.  I have a wall full of board games, card games (collectible and non-collectible) a rack full of video games and the like.  Does that count as a non-tech hobby?  Aside from that, I enjoy a good baseball game either playing or watching and always with a beer.

9. any tattoos?
Negative.  Lindsay would kill me.  Then my Mom would kill me.

Posted on Monday, July 21, 2008 10:02 PM General Interest , NINE Questions | Back to top

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