I really loved this class!! I only really started playing games avidly last year, and this class is what solidified my love for them. The lectures were always fascinating and I loved getting to practice all the skills we were learning about. The opportunity to actually make a game was my favorite part- I think I really started to understand the ideas of mechanics and challenge and building good puzzles. I’m a film major, and one of the things this class drove home for me was “taking silly media seriously”. Even if we weren’t making serious games, we were taking games seriously as a form of entertainment and creativity and it was like a breathe of fresh air.
One of the most delightful challenges was getting out of my own head as a designer- games really make you consider the player perspective and what it means to build a good game. How obvious puzzle solutions are seems easy when you’re the designer, but as a player it’s so much more apparent the gap in knowledge between designer in player. It was difficult but rewarding to learn how to playtest effectively and put things in perspective before it ever reaches an end user. The same thing is true for narrative and story- thinking like a designer was great, but this class also taught me how to think like a player to make a good game.
Another learning experience was scoping- when preparing to make the second project, my group had big ambitions. While this was because we were passionate and excited, it was also a good lesson in learning how to scale back even when you’re excited. We were recommended to scope down by the TAs when we began, but we wanted to go forward with our vision. Because we needed to learn how to use unity, make all the assets, and design the puzzles, we didn’t get to tell as much of the story as we initially wanted to. Eventually, deciding to scale back became the best choice we could make if we wanted to deliver a product at the fidelity we wanted. The decision to value quality and understand the limitations of our time and capability was a part of good lesson in scoping and understanding how much it truly takes to make a good game.
Besides the harder lessons learned through projects, I think learning how to play games as a designer was one of the most valuable takeaways from this class. It was interesting to view games in a different perspective, and to jump out of my comfort zone to try different games and learning something new about myself and about games as a whole. I love that the class encouraged us to leave our comfort zone and try different things, new things, and explore. It not only expanded my horizons and perspective but I think this lesson will make me a better designer and game creator in general. Even if I only make one type of game, the learnings hidden in all different types of games are vital for producing a game I can feel proud of.
I really loved this class, and I can’t wait to learn more about game design 🙂