Week 5: Just for Fun / by Valzorra

Tech Workshop

Tech Workshop and Building the World was a bit slower this week, as we were having one to ones with James and developing our personal prototypes and little mechanics we may want to work on. In the beginning of the session, while James was attending to other students, I took the opportunity to catch up on some blog posts I had been meaning to do. Once it was my turn for a one to one, James and I discussed what I could focus on for the rest of the day. I expressed interest in the idea of a player having a set of abilities, with the order of the abilities being predetermined. This would mean that the player would have to execute their abilities one after the other based on that predetermined order. At this point James turned around and said that it would be rather premature to begin working on any code, and that instead I should come up with some concept sketches of how these mechanics might work. This was rather useful advice, because it meant I could take the time to properly plan out what the mechanics will do and what they will look like. For the rest of the day I kept drawing a few concept pieces of how they may play out. At this stage, I am not certain whether I will use these abilities for a game, however, I do believe they look kind promising and fun. My work from the Tuesday is attached below. The specific abilities I wanted to explore were a Blinding Light Beam (Number 3), a Defensive Shield (Number 2), and a Teleportation Ability (Number 1).

Friday Presentations

The Friday of Week 5 marked the end of Phase 2, and consequently we were all asked to present the exciting and in-depth research we had done up until that point. This time round the whole process was a lot smoother as we barely ran over time and there were very few technical issues throughout the day. This made everything a lot less draining than last time, and overall I felt like I had more energy to give constructive feedback to most presenters. When it came down to my own presentation, I had a lot of research to go over in a very short period of time. My main goal was to give an adequate summary of all of the work I had done, which unfortunately meant that I could not do justice to the topics I went over. Almost all of them could do with an entire presentation by themselves, however, there is simply no time for that. In terms of feedback, Adam pointed out that the section on Dimension is rather different from the rest of the presentation and that the concepts I described regarding it have been explored in one way or another. Additionally, he recommended that I focus any further efforts in the direction of Data Visualisation or Chance and Probability rather than on the other two sub-sections of Mathematics. Although I believe that the idea of higher dimensions can be explored more efficiently through the medium of video games, I agree with Adam’s assessment that I should avoid focusing on that concept. At that point of the day I decided that I will focus primarily on Data Visualisation and Probability. I also really appreciated the feedback from my course mates as many of them pointed out a few fantastic resources for generative art and other media that relates to the subject. For ease of reference, I have attached my presentation and feedback below.

Later on in the afternoon, I had a one to one discussion with Adam about how to best proceed with work throughout Phase 3. We once again reiterated that I should stray away from working with Dimensions. After that, we debated whether it would be best to proceed with Data Visualisation or with Probability as a major focus. I am rather fond of both topics, so I did not mind developing ideas for both as they are rather interesting to me. At that stage Adam expressed concern than I may not be able to successfully turn the idea of Probability Manipulation into a viable game, at which point I realised I had misrepresented my intentions. I clarified that what I really wanted to do this year was to create a fun and exciting game that features elements of chance and probability simply for entertainment’s sake. What got me into gaming in the first place was the ability to lose myself into an immersive world and to embrace fun mechanics that made me feel joy. It is precisely the playful, yet challenging nature of video games that makes them so incredibly fun, and I just really wanted to work on a project that focuses on those elements of Games Design (for more on my realisation, refer to the first paragraph of Week 5: Game Research Document v0.1).

Once I clarified my intentions to Adam, he was incredibly supportive of the idea, and simply told me to go for it, and to make a fun game. This was a major relief and the dose of encouragement reminded me that I should be having fun throughout this process. There is no point in completely sucking the joy out of the creative process, killing myself working, and trying to solve problems that are simply not there. As has been pointed out on multiple occasions, this will be my last opportunity for a while to devote as much time to a game I want to design and develop. Therefore, there is no point in making this amazing opportunity a painful chore. Rather, I want this project to come from a place of love and passion, both for video games and for mathematics. With this new mindset, I am incredibly excited to begin ideating and to make prototypes for the best ideas I come up with. I am confident that the process will be a lot smoother and less stressful after this reflection.