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 –
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- Technical writing skill i.e. grammar, spelling, punctuation
- Basic Psychology
- Understand your medium, i.e. how computers work
- 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):
- Thorough knowledge of literature, philosophy, and mythology
- Understanding of world religions
- Basic scripting/programming knowledge
- Basic art skills, understanding of it
- Experience with audio design and musical principles
- Graphic design
- An extensive internal library of games to reference
- Life experience
- And making games. Start with pen and paper, GameMaker for PC, GameSalad for Mac
So basically you need to know everything.