Francis’s Final Reflection

I came into this class with a love for games but without the slightest idea of how to create my own. The concept of game design always felt like it would remain forever out of reach, like knowing how to fly a plane or perform an Olympic-level gymnastics routine. Games just felt like one of those things; you wait to be released patiently and hope that your favorites will come about by chance. This class, however, has made the idea of creating games, even digital ones like the one we made in P2, feel attainable, and I’m grateful for the experience. 


I found every course concept we covered to be interesting in its own right, and I don’t think I’d be able to pick a “most impactful” one from anything we learn, but I do feel like the Critical Plays left the strongest impression on me, For this course, I made it a personal goal to only complete my critical plays on games I hadn’t played before and, perhaps more importantly, games I didn’t think I would like. It forced me to step out of my comfort zone regarding games, which I realized over time was narrower than I thought. I’ve grown considerably as someone who can think like a game designer since my first critical play, and reading my reflection on social deductions games this weekend was eye-opening for me. In 10 weeks, I’ve developed at least a partial ability to break a game down to its working parts and analyze how those elements contribute to a wider experience for the player.


If I had to pick one practical skill I came away with, I’d say it’s the ability to draw and communicate my ideas effectively. Christina’s lecture on drawing basic shapes, people, expressions, and objects was something I used in every single class and brainstorming session. It helped me express the visions I had in my head to my team in almost no time and got us started on moving towards a design so quickly. The drawings are all awful, but they accomplished what they had to. It’s nostalgic to look back at the end of every assignment and see my sketches grow from the brainstorming phase to the UI implementation phase. It sucks that I have to throw them out (otherwise, I’d end up hoarding like a full stack of incomprehensible sketches).


I never thought I would be able to create my own game. Even coming into P1 and P2 with those first few brainstorming sessions, it felt like that was a mental block on being able to create anything with substance. I remember one moment in class when we had to generate our ideas for a game on sticky notes for 5 minutes and use those ideas to pick a game direction. I froze and could not produce anything but what I liked to see in the games I played. I felt like I lacked some natural talent as I looked around at my classmates, who had a million different directions their games could go in. This class taught me that the initial brainstorming phase doesn’t matter as much as I  thought. A good idea is not required to create a good game from the start. I thought I was being held back by my own lack of creativity, but it was more my indecisiveness, and I’m confident that in the future, I’ll have the wisdom to pick a direction that sounds good and give it a try. After all, I’m pretty proud of Pizza Pizzazz and After the Fire.


I want my next game to be a digital one. I have a lot to learn on the technical side of developing games, and those are skills I am only going to develop with practice. Unity was difficult to grasp, but I think the collaborative difficulties of pushing to and pulling from Github made the task so much more difficult than it had to be. I think a solo project of a simple game on Unity will help me familiarize myself with the platform a lot more, and I hope I’ll be able to use those skills to design my own fully digital game. 


CS247G was everything I thought it would be and more. Thank you to the entire teaching team, but a special shoutout to Krishnan, Amy, and Jeong for their amazing support this quarter. I was so annoying in the Slack chats. I hope everyone enjoys their Summer and invites me to their games nights!

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