Before taking this incredible class, I never thought about game design. My friends and I played an occasional game and my thoughts did not wonder past the immediate experience. This was the first time that I reflected on what makes a game special, the numerous nuances and specific formal elements that are necessary for a player to have a positive experience. I did not think about the countless hours of playtesting, the importance of a cohesive narrative, the power of visual and audio elements that contribute to the overall game integration. This course was not only amazing in the material and positive kindness that everyone consistently disseminated, the class opened my mind into an entire other avenue of creation.
I was consistently struck by the power of low fidelity prototypes. Playtesting and modifying a game highlighted the modification process where we continuously refine and tweak specific aspects in order to enhance an overall experience. To be an effective game designer, one must be empathetic and willing to listen and look at an experience from another person’s perspective. With so many different actors involved, particularly in a video game, how one effectively communicates to the rest of the team is essential towards forward motion. I immensely enjoyed working with both my teams. It seems I was very fortunate to have excellent group mates who were kind and caring people. The last game was particularly exciting because I enjoyed the historical component, we integrated within our escape room experience. Many people are not aware the Jane Lathrop Stanford was murdered through the use of strychnine poisoning. So appreciated that both Eugene and Professor Wodtke attended our escape room and provided insightful feedback.
I will take away the importance of visual story mapping. Traditional notes are not as helpful as sketchnotes. To truly understand a concept, it is important to articulate the message in both a written and visual format that condenses the essence of the information. It is equally important to pictorially represent the relationship between different concepts. The formal elements of play are critical to understanding how to create a game for a specific audience. I will make sure to articulate the game context, objective, procedure, outcome, while defining the number of players, the boundaries, game context, and conflict. For example, it is important to consider whether to have a closed system with structured conflict or a dynamic system that supports different interactions? There are a plethora of specific points and questions that need to be defined, tested and modified. As a designer every specific component of a game needs to convey a piece of information, and contribute to the overall narrative and player enjoyment. Everything needs to flow and be in harmony with each other unless I am intending to create a discontinuity on purpose. I believe spreadsheets are in invaluable tool to categorize all my information. When modifying a game, change and test one targeted aspect at a time, be meticulous and methodical. It is essential to listen and understand the playtester’s experience. I believe my greatest takeaway will be the experience. Professor Wodtke has outstanding energy. The days where I felt tired, invariably left feeling pumped. The material was dynamic and exciting. My classmates were a joy to be around. Eugene and all the Ca’s were very kind and supportive. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to attend this class.