Peace, Calm, and a drop of confusion
Last Year I had to write two blogs. The first one I left until there was only a few weeks left before the deadline and so I had to rush to get it done before the deadline. This highlighted the importance of keeping my blog up to date every week which is what I achieved with my Second blog. My second blog was a massive improvement which was reflected in my final grade. This year I hope to go even further with my blog and make sure it’s as comprehensive as possible while still being relatively interesting to read.
Last year I started off my blog posts by looking at the feedback I was given by my tutors but sadly the only feedback I received last time was positive. (Utterly terrible I know), While this was very flattering and quite surprising, I think there is still room for improvement. For example, last year I neglected a whole section of the project because I was more interested in the full Narrative game, so this time I will split each different project into a different section forcing myself to update them all on a weekly basis.
Something I mentioned I wanted to achieve at the end of my previous blog was to read up on the theory side of things over the summer and get a strong grasp on the fundamentals. I believe I have achieved this although admittedly it was more of a struggle than I expected.
I decided to start by reading, Building Imaginary Worlds by Mark J.P Wolfe. While this book is very insightful and a fountain of knowledge, It was horrible to read with around 2/3 of the entire book being references and about a third of the remaining just about J. R. R. Tolkien’s World of Middle Earth. I love middle earth don’t get me wrong, but there are so many other examples of brilliant world’s, especially in recent years that would have just provided more of a variety and interest.
I know that academic books are meant to be all fancy and cite their sources, but it would be very nice if there was a book that was easy to read and would impart knowledge. A great example of this would be Sun Tzu and The Art Of War. While this book is almost 2 and a half thousand years old it is still very insightful and easy to read. Shame it wasn’t to do with games though.
This term I have been tasked with writing a weekly blog that looks at my approach to providing solutions to the weekly challenges, both individual and team based.
So, It has already been a few weeks and I now understand all of my assignments and so I will be splitting every post into multiple sections; The weekly challenges and what I have learnt from them, The Games Design Document, The Iron Design Challenges and the other important lessons I have learnt that week.
This Weeks Weekly Challenge
The weekly challenge is a challenge that is set every week which is meant to help us grow as designers and think of problems in a way that designers do. The first challenge was to take a game that was “Dead on Arrival”. I had to write down what I didn’t like about it and how it could have been improved.
For this task I chose to write about Nostos. Nostos is a VR MMORPG that is a great example of a project that was vastly over scoped. This was incredibly sad to write about s me and my friend had been incredibly hyped about this game before it released, only to be very disappointed when it finally released. But it did get me thinking about how it could have been improved and what the developers should have done instead which was interesting.
I think Nostos would have been better if the developers focused on the core aspects of the game and nailed down the elements that made it fun. Also, since they wanted to make an MMO it was probably a good idea to make sure the servers worked. I think the game was only half ready and so they should have held back from releasing it so soon.
The Games Design Document
The games design document, or GDD for short, is a document that highlights all of the mechanics and features of the game. The purpose of this document is to make sure that everyone knows what the game is and how it plays.
For this assignment I decided not to go with the world I had created over the summer despite it being recommended purely because it didn’t have many gameplay elements. Instead, I want to base it on an Idea I had for a VR game where the player is presented with an empty room that has a desk and a single button on it that says do not push. When the player pushes the button, it disappears and reappears on the other end of the desk. The button then becomes conscious and starts talking to the player, begging the player to never push it again.
This very simple idea I think is a good basis for the game as I can introduce new systems and mechanics as I go long taking an iterative approach to the whole project.
I’d like to develop my games design document as the idea is very surface level currently and hasn’t got very much depth. I will do this by exploring the idea further and diving into the narrative of the game.
NetEase, 2018. Nostos. [image] Available at: <https://www.roadtovr.com/hands-on-nostos-gamescom-netease/> [Accessed 20 September 2021].