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Games Design 1

I’m running the Computer Games: Design (level 5) unit between now and November, followed by Computer Games: Media Assets  and Computer Games: Development, which will take us up to June 2012.Game instruction manuals

Today we looked at the role of the Games Designer.

First I asked the class what they wanted and expected to learn in the games part of their course. Their answers were:

  • Graphics
  • Level Design
  • Programming
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Physics
  • How to make the next ‘Call of Duty’

It’s good to see that they have high expectations…

Next each student was given an instruction manual from a game (some brought their own). We looked at the credits and identified a list of jobs involved in the production of a game. These included:

  • Producer
  • Artist
  • Voice Talent
  • User Interface Designer
  • Tester
  • Cut Scene Animator
  • Programmer
  • Creative Director

We discussed some of these roles, identifying what each person did.

We also looked at the number of people credited in each game.  Some older games had a credits list of about 15 people, whilst most modern games had a credit list of around 150 people. We discussed why the numbers had changed so much in 15 years and also the cost implications of producing a game. We worked out the staffing cost for a game using an average salary of £20,000, 150 staff and 1 years development time – a staggering £3 million!

Next, the class split into 4 groups and were asked to come up with a game idea. Each group was randomly assigned 2 characters, 1 location and 1 game objective. The group had to come up with a plausible game idea based on these and then present the idea to the class.

One group struggled with Pirate, Detective, Shopping Mall and Rescue. Another group developed several ideas with Elf, Animal, Island, Build, finally settling on a ‘tower defence’ game where the elf had to defend their food store from marauding animals by building defence towers around the island.

Finally we looked at the role of the games designer and started by watching videos about Hideo Kojima and Charles Cecil.

We discussed and identied some of the skills required to be a designer, including game-related skills and also generic skills. The class identified the following:

  • Art skills
  • Programming
  • Planning
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Imagination
  • Games knowledge
  • Creativity
  • Resourcefulness
We ended the lesson with a brief look at Games Industry Career Profiles, focussing mainly on the designer.
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Categories: Game Design, teaching
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  1. August 23, 2012 at 6:45 am

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