Final Reflection Essay

Before the class I thought that I would just be learning about game development from a technical standpoint (coding in Unity, building levels, etc). I had (and still have) a general interest in creating games, but my understanding of what it means to build a game was largely pointed at the technical side. I had no knowledge of the game design process, and how it can be applied to all games, not just video games. I also had a hard time doing readings in prior classes, where I would either not do the readings or I would read them and not be able to retain the information from them. Doing the sketchnotes was very helpful for me in this class, as it allowed me to focus on what I was going to write or draw.


In the class, I started out by trying to make every game perfect with my initial brainstorming, and tried to fix potential problems before testing the game first. After learning about the design process, and also being forced to test quickly and often, I started to worry less about making the game perfect in my head. I started to rely on feedback from play testers for ideas to enhance my games instead of trying to enhance the game in my head and come up with ideas. I was able to read about game development, and then play or make games in class to solidify my understanding of the readings. As I said before, the sketchnotes that I did helped me narrow my focus and retain the information from the readings, and then going into class the next day, talking about the reading, and then playing games and trying to apply what I had learned from the readings really helped my understanding. 


In this class I learned what it really takes to develop a game. From brainstorming to prototyping to testing, I learned that developing a game is so much more than having the technical ability to code up a game. As I alluded to above, I learned how valuable testing is, not only for finding and fixing bugs in games, but also for finding enhancements and getting ideas from outside sources. It became much easier to focus on how to make a game better when we could get ideas from people who were playing the games, and then all we had to worry about was how to implement the changes that we needed to make. I also learned more about myself in working with a group. I found that I work best when there is more structure and I know exactly what needs to be done and what is expected of me. I also found through this and my other classes that it’s okay to have periods where you can’t produce much for your group. I was able to find ways to help my team whenever I could, and that way when there was a time that I couldn’t do much, my teammates were able to help me. 


When I go to make games in the future, I will do more research and really try to plan things out in terms of development. I understand that a lot of ideas will come from testing, but I think that planning things out and having more organization with development is very important. I felt that it was hard to get that organization during the class just because it was a 10 week course and the turnarounds for the projects were very fast. On the other side of that, I think that when I make games in the future I will commit to whatever initial idea I had and roll with the feedback that I get. If I end up thinking that the game won’t be good at any point, I want to make sure that I see it through to the end, and then I can try something else for the next game that I make. I think that getting experience and getting a feel for what might work and what might not work is just as important as doing the research to find what technical strategies will work. 


Overall in this class I think I learned a lot about more than the game development process. It was really interesting to learn about the development process, and I am excited to begin trying out other games to make, but I am also excited to apply what I learned to other classes. Working well with a group, taking good notes, and applying readings to assignments / in class activities are all things that are very useful. The most valuable thing that I learned from this class is to just try things. Trying to make everything perfect at the beginning is how you get a game that is perpetually stuck in development, and at the end of the day you just need to try it out and release something. If it doesn’t work it doesn’t work, and you can build from there, and that was a huge part of the class that I enjoyed.

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