Friday, 7 October 2011

Who am I?

University life has caught up to me, I am overwhelmed and never been so busy, yet I'm loving it. I am finally involved in something I am deeply interested in, I'm one step closer to that childhood dream, I know that sounds corny but it's very true for me. Ever since that day I started making modifications on old/new 2d multi-player game maker, BYOND, and participated in the first beta of Runescape (2D avatar in 3D map), I have always wanted to be involved in game design.
I did actually write notes for the first reading material, for one of the modules, so I'll somehow try to mishmash these notes in to some sort of readable structure.
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In the Beginning, There is the Designer by Jesse Schell (The Art of Game Design: A book of lenses)
Schell introduces the reader with an inspirational speech that transitions to a one liner that tells the reader to repeat: I am a game designer. I do find what he's saying a confidence booster, unfortunately he contradicts this by saying "people become what they pretend to be". I get his point that you will become a game designer by doing what a game designer does but that doesn't necessarily mean that you will be a good or great game designer. For example one can train to become a Soprano yet have so little talent to even be worth being considered.

I think you need to have at least some sort of talent, useful for game design, to be good at it whether it be great at creating concepts and communicating ideas clearly or the more technical coding or art part of game design. Schell extends the useful skills a Game Designer needs with a clear and concise list. I won't list all of them but here are some: Communication, Creative Writing, Engineering, Management, Mathematics and Visual Arts.

He then emphasises the most important skill: Listening. Well actually not listening, observing whilst listening then understanding. One can listen but it is useless if it goes through one ear and out the other, it needs to be processed. To extend this further, I would have advised that action is also good. He says Fred is sad, so now you understand Fred's feelings you can console Fred. Applying this to an example in real life, I know a few game developers that created forums for their players' feedback and they posted replies regularly but never actually did what they said they will do. Schell then adds more to his Listening: Five Kinds of Listening. He says you need to listen to your team, audience, game, client and self. I do agree with him with this but this is difficult to do all the time, is it even possible to consider all these things at once when applied in real world modern game design? The game designer only has a certain amount of time, how can we juggle all this at once? Time means money, I guess as game designers we learn from our mistakes, and thus we gain experience. 'Game designers must be confident and fearless' can be confused with stupid and reckless. I think Schell means to think over your options and believe in them. If the decisions are well founded and realistic then take a leap of faith.

The last part Schell talks about is 'The Secret of the Gifted', saying that people are born with minor gifts (or talents) but never reach their potential because they don't have the love for the work involved.

*WARNING random rant*
I think this is a good point but subjective, in the real world people are constantly driven down by life problems, e.g sickness, wealth/money, or just circumstances that turns their whole life around, not everyone can make it, it's a fact. Only those who meet the requirements and are willing to work for something actually make it. And that's the sad reality of life.Unless you are just plain lucky or recommended by a friend. I know this is a downer but game designers need to realise this, employers are looking for what they want, unless you plan on making an indie game but that's another story....*end of random rant*

It's just like my father says, if you aren't in it then you aren't going to win it, and that's every time I tell him off for buying another lottery ticket (the chances of winning are one in 14 million). He is quite right, if you don't risk and take a chance in something then you will never get it. I like my odds better than his.

I found Schell's reading material, from his book, quite inspirational, he doesn't focus on the negatives only the positives which is a good perspective for a Game Designer. We have to keep positive because we will get turned down a lot in the future and dragging yourself down won't help.

Thank you for reading my blog and I apologise for the lateness. After I am done compiling notes for the second readings for Rob and Edd's modules, I will post them (probably this Sunday or Monday coming).

1 comment:

  1. Yes, your chances of succeeding are better than 1 in 14 million! :) The schell text is excellent, if you are building up a set of texts to support your work, this would be a good addition.