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A Young Game Designers Journal - Entry #1 (31 Dec 2012)

12/31/12 1:02pm
tl;dr

I'M NOT PRETENTIOUS I SWEAR

"DirectX is taking a while to download, I think I'll blog" I say to myself, 3:27am on the last day of 2012. I've done plenty of blogs, and at this point I can't think of anything "worthwhile" to write, or for any reason other than to keep my supposed writing talents up to date (I'll leave that judgement up to you). So here I resolve to start a "Design Journal" of such. I won't update on a regular schedule (unless by some marvel this become actually well read) and it can't Promise that it will be of any benefit to the user...

Heh, "The User". I'm still stuck in that mindset.

So pray tell, what do I write about? Think I'll just write about what's being going on in my head in terms of Game Design or that world.

For reference, I'm writing to Melody Gardot's album "The Absence".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_73uTKS9MwY

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So, I guess a general introduction is in order. I'm Pádraig and I'm a Young Game Designer. I am studying Game Design & Development at LIT Tipperary in Thurles in my second year. I have fully designed 2 games, 1 of which I was in the process of developing last year and 1 I have kept with me. I am in the process of designing about 5 games, 1 of which with my Game Design partner in crime Harry Porter, which we intend will be our "Magnum Opus" of sorts.

Now, this is the important part. I am designing these games, and have not started developing... Hell I probably won't develop half of these since at least 2 of them are stuck in post-concept messing about. I am studying to develop games aswell (i.e programming, music etc...) but am nowhere near as interested/good at developing as I am designing (Great excuse isn't it). I do maintain the stance that it is important that one is simply not a "Designer", you NEED to have something else to contribute. This is mainly due to the perception that design is easy and that anyone can do it, but it takes real skill for someone to develop games... I can sympathise with this, though I do not agree with the notion that "Game Design is easy".

"Big words for an Internet Lurker there sonny..."

I must sound awful pretentious, after all, I'm only 20 years old and here I am talking about a field of study I have not entered in a professional sense yet. True enough, don't think for a minute I know what I'm talking about. I can only offer my own observations/learning’s.

So, what's been on my mind lately?

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I've been adding more and more into my Game Design Bible. This is a big hardback in which I put any good information or try to flesh out concepts. Page 7 contains a Diagram by Jesse Schell on "The Game Design Process", Page 9 is about Mechanics, Dynamics and Aesthetics and the 8 kinds of "Fun", you get the deal. I also try to put my own opinions in here from time to time, however uneducated they may be. I think it's important I make mistakes this early, the last thing I want is to go into a design job and think "I'm going to do a perfect job".

"Me when I make Silent Bomber 2"

Recently I've been trying to flesh out a design I came up with based on a song by Melody Gardot (I've been listening to her a lot lately) and encompassing the feeling you get when skating in Super Mario Galaxy or grinding in Sonic Adventure 2. If you've played the games you know the feeling, it's great, now how do I make a full/good game out of it. The other challenge I'm having is trying to come up with a cohesive narrative in which to fit this game. When I usually look to do this I look at what I've been thinking about the most recently, discard it, and then think of the next thing... but now I'm debating whether putting the themes of a separation of marriage in a game like this would be appropriate.

For that matter, not all games need to have deep meaning, themes or subtext behind them... Simplicity could be the key here, maybe let the gameplay alone tell its story...

Other than that, Global Game Jam 2013 is coming up shortly. I'm hesitant to try and pitch an idea in case the same thing as last year happens, in which I came up with an idea which was kinda awesome and then see it turn into a totally different game that hardly resembled the initial pitch.... then again if there's one place I need more practise in it's in Team Management. Oh yeah, I also need to do some more study on programming as I intend to code this jam, but I know that if I'm not happy with my level of game programming then I won't jeopardise the project... I know the whole point of a jam is to expand your skillset and get better under pressure, but... I dunno... we'll see what happens. Either way I can always contribute music to a game.

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How's that for a first entry...? Maybe on an off chance some Game Developer will come across this and keep me in mind in for the future... In the case that this happens, I'll tell you, the guy reading this. Don't hire me unless you're Confident in my programming, or if you are hiring me for a design job be aware that design for me does not end at "Concept". Concepts are cheap, design requires analysis and planning.

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To do list: 1 - Fish around and see who's looking to hire interns 2 - Find a way to let cocos2d-x install on your Laptop 3 - Fill Game Design bible more, finish "Level Up!" by Scott Rogers

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