Week Nine

Phase three of this project culminated on Friday with a presentation. We each had to present three game ideas and by the end of the day, decide with Adam which idea to further develop into our “GDD.” My presentation was slightly different, instead of coming up with three game ideas, I presented the idea for my project as more of a research proposal. It wasn’t really something which I felt comfortable doing, as I would’ve much preferred to have presented some game ideas. However, I think I presented well and laid out the plan for my project going forward.

After our presentations, we were introduced to the fourth and final phase of this project. The end goal for us is to construct a “GDD.” This is in quotes because it doesn’t necessarily have to be a Game Design Document. We can interpret the GDD as we see fit. For me, Adam suggested that I make a forward-facing summary website with interactive elements. For others, this GDD would be a rich explanatory document like a traditional GDD.

Once we were introduced to the final phase, we then had a chance to discuss our projects with Adam one to one. Sadly, this wasn’t quite as productive as I would have liked. I spent most of the time feeling more confused about my project than I had been in a while. It took ages for me to grasp what Adam was suggesting I do. In the end, I understood his recommendation as a summary website which has interactive elements. My plan now is to create a Unity web project and host it on GitHub. The content of this Unity project will include a summary of the main points of my research and the prototypes I have created. Visitors to this site can then get all the information they need on my project and get a sense of what my FMP will look like based on the prototypes I have created so far.

At this stage, I’m still undecided about what my FMP will be. I’m leaning more towards a 2D adventure game, which is light on mechanics, but heavy on story and level design. This is just the essence of my FMP, but in terms of story, characters and setting etc. I’m still uncertain. I think that I could have nailed down some of this stuff a lot sooner if I was coming up with game ideas like my fellow classmates. However, it’s been recommended that I think more about branding and messaging, which is something I’m not interested in at all.

Since I am so undecided as to just what I will be making for my FMP, I will be coming up with some game ideas as I’m creating my GDD. Hopefully this will put me in a good position when I come back for semester two and I will have some concrete ideas about what my game will be. Even though I’m not definite on what my FMP will be, I still think I’m heading in the right direction.

We had quite a full week leading up to our presentations. On Tuesday, we were given a talk by Grads in Games who gave us advice about how to write our CV, where game jobs are located and how to best market ourselves after we graduate. It was an interesting talk and I have since written my CV based on their recommendations. However, they were very role centric and frequently referred to companies wanting artists, animators, 3D modellers and programmers. Rarely, if at all, did they speak about design roles in game companies. However, they gave good advice generally and it was illuminating nonetheless. However, perhaps the best part of the talk was by Sean Frisby from Futurlab who spoke to us about his journey into the games industry. What I found particularly interesting was that he started out by taking any job which would allow him to continue to develop his portfolio and that when he graduated, his portfolio wasn’t that great. He reassured us that having a good portfolio is a bonus, but that employers, especially of smaller studios would much rather have a nice person who wasn’t highly skilled, rather than a highly skilled “asshole” working with them.

We also had another industry speaker on Thursday, Kate Taylor from Activision. Kate has worked for Codemasters on the Dirt series and at FreeStyle Games on Guitar Hero Live. She gave an entertaining talk about her first jobs in the industry and how her very first job in games came about by accident. She graduated in the first year of the Graphic Arts course here at Winchester School of Art, so like us she didn’t have a graduating year to compare with, or any idea of where her degree would take her.

Both Sean and Kate had very different experiences of employment after graduating, but have ended up at jobs which they enjoy immensely. I’m hopeful that I will be able to do the same after I graduate.

Overall, this week was really interesting, especially our industry guests. However, in terms of my project, I don’t feel like I have a clear way forward. My plan first thing next week is to do some idea creation about what my GDD will be and what kind of game my FMP will be. This will hopefully allow me to nail down the specifics. Sadly, I don’t think I will have enough time to make another prototype during phase four, however this might change depending on my progress next week.

Week Ten