Reality is a Game

Game thinking from Adam Clare

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5 Lessons From a Game Design Graduate

Marcus from Triolith has a good short list of things he’s learned since he finished his bachelor’s degree in game design.

It may come across as obvious to some people, but it’s worth reviewing. It’s so very, very easy to get wrapped up in the immediacy of school that the larger picture can get blurry and sometimes lost.

A good list for any game design students.

1. Design skills will only get you halfway

This is a pretty crucial point, because this is probably the most glaring problem with anyone who thinks that they will become an employed game designer right after graduation. Because anyone can design, anyone can come up with ideas; you aren’t special. Not in that regard.

However, if you have design skills as well as other skills, you will become a heck of a lot more versatile and independent. It doesn’t have to be programming skills per se; drawing skills or even musical skills will also get you a long way. Just please don’t rely solely on the belief that you are the Best Game Designer Ever because you have ‘a lot of ideas’.

2. Make games

Sound like a no-brainer? You’d be surprised (and probably aghast) at how few people in my designer class, myself included, who made next to no games during our spare time. Sure, games were made in design and game mechanics classes, but seeing a classmate showing a game he/she made on her own was almost a sensation. I’m ashamed at the fact that it took me a graduation and a period of job rejections to make me realize I didn’t have jack squat to show employers what I was capable of. No wonder I didn’t get any job offers, I myself didn’t have anything to offer! So please, at the very least go and download Game Maker and start reading up on the tutorials. You will never get better at anything unless you practice.

Read the rest here.

Paper Prototypes for News-Based Games

I’m a huge fan of paper prototyping because it’s fast and can identify problems with game design very quickly. The ability to do fast iterations of design choices is very important to finessing game mechanics. I stand by the idea that all types of games can benefit from paper prototyping so it’s nice to see that someone else looks at how paper prototyping can help people who make games based on the news.

The article goes through the basics of paper prototyping then gets to the interesting part on how to effectively use the prototyping idea.

KETTLING AS A PUZZLE GAME
In late November of 2010, a student protest in London highlighted the inhumane treatment of young protesters through the practice of “kettling:” large cordons of police, often in riot gear, encircle a group of protesters for the purposes of transportation, dispersal, or long-term containment. The 2010 kettling incident was particularly unsettling because some groups of students were reportedly contained in excess of nine hours and denied food, water or a restroom facilities for the duration of the kettle.

In response, Stephen Lavelle (aka increpare, an ultra lo-fi indie game designer) produced the digital editorial game Kettle within three days of the event. The simple puzzle game casts players in the role of the police cordon, which can push inward from any of four sides in order to arrange a disparate group of young protesters into a tight, n x n formation. In between puzzles, rough cartoons depict the harassment of students by boorish officers (“Haha, you shat yourself” and “Guess you’re going to miss class”).

While the puzzle mechanics themselves are fairly abstract, the interstitial comics provide specific details on the recent event, such as the facts that the protesters were students and that they were denied access to restrooms.

Read the rest of the piece here.

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