Going into this class, I already enjoyed gaming as a hobby and was excited to explore them from “behind the veil”. I had previously not thought too much about how developers’ design decisions factored into games. In fact, the only time when game design came into my mind was when I was playing bad and poorly made games! I was aware that a vast amount of effort went in to making games, but did not have any idea of the core principles that guided this effort.
Throughout this quarter, I was able to uncover these principles, including the types of fun, interaction loops, audio/visual design, onboarding, and more. I had a great time looking back onto my favorite games of the past and considering them in light of these new tools. This had the effect of improving not only my understanding of these games, but also my understanding of my interests as a game player. The Critical Plays were also really helpful in this regard, especially for applying design concepts to real games and cementing the effect of certain design decisions in my mind.
“I now have an appreciation for why it takes so darn long for sequels to my favorite games to come out”
My most valuable learnings were related to scoping: it was actually quite shocking to look back on my team’s original plans for Project 2 and see how much had to be cut to finish the game in a timely manner. Even with our scoped-down plans, there was still lots of actual work that had to be done. I now have an appreciation for why it takes so darn long for sequels to my favorite games to come out – if I make a game in the future, I would gladly take as much time as needed to make it according to the full, original vision.
On a related note, shoutout to my team members Graham, Grace, and Saljuk, who were some of the best and most pleasant teammates I’ve had in a project class! I genuinely enjoyed our team dynamic and how much we were all invested into making a quality product rather than merely a functional one.
If I have a chance in the future to keep designing and making games (and I hope I do), I will certainly put what I learned in this class to use. Knowing now how much effort and knowledge goes into the visual and audio design of games, I plan to take drawing and music courses next year so that I can become more experienced in these fields.
Finally, thanks to the course staff of Christina, Kally, and Vincent for being so supportive and helpful!