to dos over the next year

That’s USC.

Grad school is on the horizon. Well, I’ll apply next December, but it’s time to start preparing and pick up where I left off after school. Which is where?

My ultimate goal (in life I think) is to design games for college curricula, ergo I will go to grad school for game design. In undergrad, my focus was on a bizarre, insufficiently articulated project called NODOI and its compliment, lnfnmo. These projects led me to realize the potential in videogames to incite realizations and to teach in a way more linear media can’t. So, I diligently researched Game Studies/Ludology and even attended the Art History of Games conference in Atlanta.

My final year/semester in school I focused more on gaining technical skills, specifically web design/dev (i.e. money makin skills). After school and up until now (1 year later), I have stepped away from the game world and delved into the design/dev/startup arena through my work with Scenable and a few freelance projects. Of course I will continue that, but it’s time to start gradually shifting my focus back to games to prepare for school. How to do that? I have a few things in mind for the next year –

  1. Writing and research (blog). At least once a week, I will post either a summary of a reading/some research, a response to a game, or some free writing/ideation.
  2. Game Design Concepts online course. An experiment in game design and pedagogy by Ian Schreiber. Looks excellent, I’ll aim to post updates along the way.
  3. Prototyping games. By first remaking either, a proof-of-concept Flash game I made a couple years ago. Though I sort of hate it, Flash/ActionScript is a great way to quickly prototype. But I also hear GameSalad is a great tool though I haven’t used it yet. Update: Don’t forget about pen and paper.
  4. Find a relevant internship. Not sure how this will pan out, but it’s something to aim for next spring or so. Informal interviews are probably the way to start.
  5. Continue design/development work. I’ve gotten pretty into/good at the web stuff and will keep on that.

A final note about this site. In past, I have been very hesitant to veer from professional content on this site, but I’ve decided that’s silly. I am professional, of course, but if I want to post a song or video I’m digging at the time, then I will.


I just watched Extra Credits’ So You Want to be a Game Designer and it’s gold. Here’s a summary/more things to focus on:

Most important is the ability to communicate. You are working with interdisciplinary teams, so you must communicate your needs to all groups. Next you need these skills to be a decent game designer:

  1. Technical writing skill i.e. grammar, spelling, punctuation
  2. Logic
  3. Basic Psychology
  4. Understand your medium, i.e. how computers work
  5. Solid grasp of math, at least advanced Algebra (ahh shit.)

And these skills to be an excellent game designer (I am better prepared in this arena):

  1. Thorough knowledge of literature, philosophy, and mythology
  2. Understanding of world religions
  3. Basic scripting/programming knowledge
  4. Basic art skills, understanding of it
  5. Experience with audio design and musical principles
  6. Graphic design
  7. An extensive internal library of games to reference
  8. Life experience
  9. And making games. Start with pen and paper, GameMaker for PC, GameSalad for Mac

So basically you need to know everything.