Before this class, I thought about playing games just in the context of fun and never played them critically. Playing games critically made me appreciate all the hard work that goes into designing them. The class concepts that stuck with me are tutorial design. The video on plants vs zombie was super helpful to us when we were making our game. It actually made us think about how to blend the tutorial into the game so that it isn’t a burden on the player to know how to play and they can focus on the fun part. We did this by making a very quick portion at the beginning of our game where the player helps an NPC and from that one interaction we introduce the two main mechanics of our game.
I experienced a few challenges in this class. We picked a very wide scope as a team and we were very ambitious so we struggled to implement everything we wanted to within the time frame that we had. I wish we had more time to focus on the projects, especially since the projects are so involved and we really cared as a team to create a game as polished and detailed as possible. These challenges that I faced taught me to be more aware of my time and planning. Now that I know that it can be really difficult to make a polished game slice, I am better at estimating the work needed and how to plan for a completed project. Another challenging thing I faced was dealing with a large number of combined images for our game. One of our game mechanics relies on using Dalle Mini (a model that creates images from text) to combine any items. Due to the large number of possible combinations, we struggled to find a way to generate all of them but this experience helped us learn about web automation tools. We wrote a python script that automatically uses an online Dalle Mini demo and it generated all the images we needed.
I had never made a game before this class. I grew a lot through making a board game for the first project and a video game for the second project. We had a lot of self-learning to do while making the video game which was hard but we came out of this experience as a team knowing a lot more about how to make games. Going through this experience has made me super appreciative of the video games I played that never broke and had so many details in them. I did not fully understand before how much work, effort, and team coordination goes into creating such a polished product. One thing that was unexpectedly challenging for this game was picking a song that plays through the game that fits the tone we were aiming for. I also realized through making this video game that I really enjoy building maps. I made a beach map and a small forest map for our game and it was so much fun to plan it out and add a few hidden details. Another way in which I grew through this class is being grateful for playtesters and understanding the value of the playtesting process. Each time we playtested we found so many problems that were easy to fix but that we couldn’t see.
Next time, when working on a game, I will be more aware of the time frame and picking an adequate scope. It is really satisfying to have a finished playable game and I am glad we were able to make that through this class.