On Thursday, October 16 2014 we at Seamedu school of game and animation held a Game Design Workshop which was conducted by our own HOD Harold sir.
What was it about?
It was about game design of-course. So, The workshop started by a question “What actually is design?” and many different answers came up. Some said ‘shaping vague ideas into something creative that works to it’s intended effect is design’, some said ‘forming a meaningful structure from something abstract’ but these were all opinions, in truth meaning of the word design is somewhat subjective, its meaning differs for each individual but in the root it is a kind of a blueprint due to which any kind of creative work seems to make sense. As simple as that sounds, something of that sorts is not easily achieved. A good design requires, someone with a certain set of skills that are rarely seen and that person is the designer.
Who is a designer?
He (Harold sir) said a good designer (in this case a game designer) should try to develop the following qualities among others, over the course of time:-
1. Reading, collecting data, being curious
2. Being good at mathematical applications.
3. Understanding psychology, behavioural patterns
4. Social understanding.
Now from what I made of it, this what he meant
1. Having kind of a database of your own that you get from the stories you read, the things you see and from your own experiences. Such data can be found abundantly in books but also through movies and stories.
2.The ability to perceive problems and think of solutions and do calculations wherever necessary. Design would always involve calculations because design is a calculated process and it needs to be assessed at every point where it changes.
3. A basic understanding of human psych, how it reacts to certain stimuli and how you can manipulate it to show them what you want them to see and make them feel what you want them to.
4. The ability to understand how people socialize, because games are a social form of media and many of them actually give the players the situations which need them to communicate with each other.
What we did?
Now that was all theory, the next part was the more exciting one. Now, we were about to make our own board games then and there. Sounds a bit rushed but you don’t have to be surprised if I say the people came up with 4-5 playable ideas for board games and when I say playable, they were all tested on site.
Okay so we started by listing out the most basic and common board games that we played and then finalised on one that we thought we could work upon.
Divided into teams, each team had one existing board game to modify. Some groups had playable games, some couldn’t go very far from the the original game. But everybody participate with same level of enthusiasm and moved a step ahead in understanding game design
At the end of the day each one of us had the understanding of what we were capable of and also how a design starts. We are soon planning to move forward with the games from the workshop and we’ll try to understand more about design along the way.
More articles will follow in this series explaining the details of the workshop soon.