Thursday, January 14, 2010

Questions to answer...

Well it’s been quite a time since I have last posted on here and if I am honest I am quite disappointed in myself for this. Unfortunately I got swamped under with the ins and outs of work to be handed in at the end of the semester and the blog got shrouded in deadlines and prevailing commitments. But I am back now for second semester and as one of my new years resolutions I am going to be posting as often as other work permits me to.

So…. second semester. I just got back into the university today and as I’m awaiting feedback on my work from last semester I thought I would get back on with the blog and also ponder over what I want to be doing for my Advanced Practice 2 module as well as where I want to be post MA. These fall into several questions posed to me by my tutor which consist of:

o What do I want to do?
o What kind of activity post MA?
o What do I want in my folder?
o What aspects of games interest me?
o What opportunities for new research and development are there in these areas?
o What skills do I need to develop?

With the way that my mind and thinking works, before I can start exploring any design activities I need to address each of these question individually. Doing this will help me focus my design ideas as well as my design direction.

What do I want to do?

This question is perhaps the one that I fear the most. It sounds so definite and final like as if once you choose you can never, ever choose anything ever again. That’s preposterous of course but still it is an epic question to answer as well as justifying the answer you have given. But lets start on a more basic note rather than deciding what exact job I want to do forever by looking at two sub questions.

What kind of activity post MA? - This is an easier one to answer. I think.

After I finish my MA I want to go into the industry. I preferably would like to get into a decent junior design job working with narrative ideas and game mechanics yet the realistic side of me just aims to get a job within the design sector of the industry whether that be a games tester or something where I am completely out of my depth. At this moment in time I don’t want to continue with the academic research of games, but it is something I may come back to once I feel I have established myself into the industry ladder with my feet firmly on its rungs.

What do you want in your folder? – This one is talking about a portfolio!

Portfolios are like a window into your thinking mind. The portal in which prospective employers can view how you think as well as what you are capable of producing and where you need to improve. If I am going to be focusing my work on the thinking side of the fence I will want to have work in my folder that shows interviewers how I think, how I develop my ideas and how I come up with design solutions for videogames. I will need design work that focuses on game mechanics, level designs and narrative designs. I will need to demonstrate that I am capable of producing this design work in a finished state through constructed and playable examples. These will highlight my creativeness as well as the ability to focus ideas into a finished and solid form. If I am to work with narrative design a few contextualised character designs may help give a greater impact of level and mechanic design as well. All in all I need to present enigmatic ideas that push traditional conventions as well as tightly knit ideas that appeal to a more professional and commercial world both being supported by strong modelling skills.

These questions have helped me form more opinions about my own skills and what I need to achieve throughout my MA. I want to focus on game mechanics, level design and narrative design pulling them all together into a coherent piece of work that can show the skills that I have and are eager to build upon.
I want to design the mechanics behind the games and give reason to those mechanics through tight narrative, mechanic and level design.

What aspects of games interest me?

Understanding what fascinates me in games can be quite difficult. Yet I know through talking about what I want in my portfolio and what I want to do post MA that the mechanics that give games substance and narrative that gives players reason are what I am truly interested in, and most of all I am interested into how these two aspects of games can meld together to create deep and engaging experiences for players.

What opportunities for new research and development are there in these areas?

There are constant opportunities for expansion with game mechanics, as new ideas for games need to be sought after to bring new and engaging experiences for players in the world. Narrative design is also an area that is continuously being debated with in games design and without a set amount of rules for it like in literature or films the possibilities for research and development are huge. Bringing them all together with level design is also an area that new research and new ideas can be formulated helping develop the ideas.

What skills do I need to develop?

This section is the most important as it will allow me to understand the areas of my own skills that I need it to develop and focus on. The first skill I desperately need to develop is that of modelling and adding texture to those models. I also need to develop my game mechanic designs by thinking about how the game mechanic will develop with difficulty through the game as well as how game mechanics work. Level design structure will need to be developed in design so I can integrate game mechanics into it seamlessly as well as my narrative skills so I can come up with engaging ideas to integrate the three area skills together.

Well there we go, lots and lots of talk about skills and area to improve as well as what I want to aim towards with my semester 2 and my advanced practice module. For once I feel focused on my work and I know what I want to do and what to aim towards and above all I am excited to get on with it and to come up with new ideas that are both experimental and professional.

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