Nerval's Lobster writes: In the fall of 2014, 20 promising video game developers will begin a yearlong (and free) program at the University of Texas at Austin, where they will study under some of the gaming industry’s most successful executives. “The idea is to get the best of the best of the best, run them through a Navy Seals boot camp of sorts and not force them to worry about ‘how do I pay the rent and buy groceries,’” said program leader Warren Spector, who is responsible for creating well-known games such as Deus Ex. “Fingers crossed, when we start delivering graduates who can contribute in major ways to the development of future games, that philanthropy will continue.” In a wide-ranging interview, Spector also talked about how his future students will be graduating into an industry in which "every business model is broken, which is either terrifying or an opportunity depending on how you look at it." Focus groups, analysis of historical trends, and aggregated game review scores may be comforting to number crunchers, but the majority of game projects still end up as commercial failures. Spector ultimately believes the people who actually make the games are going to make better decisions than the number crunchers. “We’ve got to be looking forward and any time you start bringing data into it, you’re not,” Spector said. “I pitched a Lego construction game in 1989, and guess what: Minecraft is basically a Lego construction game. But at the time I was told ‘no, that won’t work.’ I pitched a western game and the response was ‘westerns don’t sell.’ And then Red Dead Redemption came out. Stuff doesn’t sell until someone makes one that sells, and no amount of data can reveal what new thing is going to sell. The metrics and data guys, and the publishing guys will never come up with the next big thing.” Despite his views on statistics-heavy development, Spector added that it’s important that the business and creative sides of the house remain partners.
It appears that PL/I (and its dialects) is, or will be, the most widely
used higher level language for systems programming.
-- J. Sammet