Before taking this class, not only was the process of creating a cohesive (and fun) game system completely foreign to me but all the different games out there (e.g., digital games, board games) seemed like different, disjointed worlds with no common denominator. I was also unaware of just how much effort and thought goes into making fun games and making games fun. Getting to walk in the shoes of game designers definitely gave me a better understanding into how these games are made and what it takes to make a good game.
I think one of my favorite parts of the class were sketch notes. Even though I don’t consider myself an artist, I am a big fan of graphic design and getting to exercise that muscle even more was super helpful and fun for me. In fact, I tried to get better at drawing things and using my hands more, but I have completely gave up on any design that’s not done digitally (I only use a pen/pencil whenever I need to sign a form once every blue moon). So due to completely unforeseen circumstances, I decided that I wanted to do all of my sketchnotes using Figma and try out different ideas. If that wasn’t enough, I also wanted to be able to do them in a reasonable amount of time. As someone who gets overly attached to the smallest of details, I knew I had to set harsh deadlines for myself in order to deliver on time. So as such, I have given myself a maximum of 1 hour and 15 minutes for all of my sketchnotes with an extra 5 minutes to try and polish things out. This lead to many mistakes such as typos that I didn’t catch/have time to correct (no native spellcheck in Figma for some reason). I also aimed to make most of the stuff in my sketchnotes from scratch because apparently I am a masochist. That said, I feel like I have achieved some parts of sketchnotes that I am quite proud of and hope to continue to do sketchnotes in the future.
Although I am somewhat crafty with computers and not as much with hardware, I have never had the opportunity (excuse) to put out a crazy idea that involves many moving parts (both hardware and software) and just go all guns blazing and make that a reality. For the second puzzle, I wanted to make something that involved some sort of sensory feel that incorporated some visual elements but relayed information to players via tactile feedback. More importantly though, it needed to include an arduino, other hardware and be FUN. Having done one or two projects with an arduino before, I had very minimal experience with what I embarked on. Aside from not knowing what parts I have access to and what those parts are, I also had no clue how to make all parts of the game talk to each other in order to deliver something tangible that can be played.
I think one of the biggest takeaways that I got from the class is not being afraid to breaking the mold when it comes to what the definition of a game is and what a game should be. Through exposure to a wide variety of games from lecture, from the critical plays, and from playtesting for my peers, I got to see all types of games and just how creative game designers can be if they get the opportunity to unleash their potential and build cool stuff.
On the topic of playtesting, this was another thing that I learned that I think is extremely important and useful. It goes without saying that everything in life is a feedback system and experiencing the feedback loop in the design process through the perspective of playtesting was yet another way I got to experience that and learn a new “medium”/style for providing feedback. Also, getting to test out different games while having the knowledge of a game designer made me give better feedback and have a better appreciation for the amount of work and effort that goes into creating games.
In the future (whatever that might end up looking like), I hope to double down on pursing wild ideas that I feel somewhat unqualified/clueless about implementing and push myself in new ways.