[Edu-sig] CS + theater

Steve Graham skudge at gmail.com
Thu Apr 5 19:52:09 CEST 2012

Computer Game Design seems to encompass this intersection and is a very 
interesting space, since there are connections to theater, but also to 
all sorts of other arts.  Frederick P. Brooks has expressed it about as 
well as anyone:
"The programmer, like the poet, works only slightly removed from pure 
thought-stuff. He builds castles in the air, from air, creating by 
exertion of the imagination. Few media of creation are so flexible, so 
easy to polish and rework, so readily capable of realizing grand 
conceptual structures. Yet the program construct, unlike the poet's 
words, is real in the sense that it moves and works, producing visible 
outputs separate from the construct itself. It prints results, draws 
pictures, produces sounds, moves arms. The magic of myth and legend has 
come true in our time. One types the correct incantation on a keyboard, 
and a display screen comes to life, showing things that never were nor 
could be. ... The computer resembles the magic of legend in this 
respect, too. If one character, one pause, of the incantation is not 
strictly in proper form, the magic doesn't work. Human beings are not 
accustomed to being perfect, an few areas of human activity demand it. 
Adjusting to the requirement for perfection is, I think, the most 
difficult part of learning to program."
-Frederick P. Brooks 
Jr. The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering, Anniversary 
Edition (2nd Edition) by Frederick P. Brooks , ISBN: 0201835959 , Page: 7-8

There is more (very nice imagery) in the original text. The section 
labeled "The Joys of the Craft" is just over a page in length and fantastic.


On 4/5/2012 12:16 PM, kirby urner wrote:
> As I was telling my younger daughter during the ride to school today
> (she's a senior in high school, though already 20% professor and 22%
> your boss), a huge missed opportunity (so far) is the hybrid of
> theater and computer science.
> My older step daughter majored - minored in something like that, but
> the college wasn't really doing the work to marry the two, she was.
> Like with television, the computer comes with a "back stage" where we
> craft a user experience (e.g. web site) -- like museum exhibit design
> (interactive), like department store design (people behind counters,
> customer service, help desk).**
> The code is about animating agents and actors (how the systems people
> talk).  In popular culture, this way of thinking was vastly aided and
> abetted by 'The Matrix', wherein the idea was we live inside a
> computer program built for us by computer viruses of extraterrestrial
> origin.
> Anyway, I think as the media continue to cross-fertilize, we'll be
> getting back to theater more and more, as a core institution in both
> east and west, and as a logical partner for the CS department /
> compartment / pod.
> Kirby
> ** museum exhibit design:  http://samgreen.to/blog/
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steve graham
associate professor
computer game design
dakota state university
skg at dsu.edu

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