Before I took this class, I thought that people who designed successful, fun games had some kind of genius talent. How did they balance luck and skill? Know the right amount of resources to give players? Determine the rules of the game? As I went through this class, I learned that making these decisions isn’t some elusive, intuitive thing only a few people can do. With a group of people with diverse skills, trial-and-error, and lot of playtesting, I can also create fun games for people to play.
I have done UX design internships in the past, and I had no idea how closely related game design and UX design are. The game design process taught in class follows a very similar process to what I’d do when designing a mobile app or website. I love games and am interested in working on them in the future, and this class made me realize I already have a lot of the skills necessary to do that. I also realized that while game design is still appealing to me, I’m even more interested in the narrative architecture side and storytelling aspects of it. Because of this class, I have a better idea of what I’d like to pursue in the future and focus my time on.
The concept that most stuck with me was how to design puzzles. I enjoy screenwriting, and an essential idea in screenwriting is that a character must want something and obstacles must be standing in their way. I was shocked at how the types of puzzles in the “Designing Puzzles” reading sounded exactly like obstacles characters in a movie would face: trying to crack the password to a computer, getting past guards, using an object in unusual ways. It made the parallels between game puzzles and movies very clear. It was a list of possible obstacles to give characters in a screenplay as much as a list of puzzles to give game players. I looked for other articles about puzzles immediately after completing the reading because I wanted get more familiar with different types of puzzles. While I was not able to apply these learnings to my second game very much (I focused more on code), I will definitely incorporate them into my future writing/storytelling projects.
A challenge I faced in this class is anxiety when playing games. I’m not comfortable with bluffing/lying in games, so having to do those games in class and outside of class for critical play was a struggle. However, the best way to help with anxiety is to ride it through, not avoid what causes it. So it’s good that I was made to play these games because it’ll help me get more comfortable with situations like them later in life.
This class also helped me get more comfortable with working in teams. I got better at taking initiative, articulating my opinions, and delegating work among team members. Before, I was more intimidated when working with multiple other people on one project, but I have more confidence in myself after my experiences in the class.