I figured I’d start the blog section of my portfolio with a mid-semester of what I’ve been doing in my 2 major-related classes, specifically in terms of game design. I’ve been kept plenty busy with weekly projects, check-ins, and this semester has definitely increased my confidence as a designer.
Principles of Game Design
My biggest time investment this semester has been my Principles of Game Design course, where we rapidly prototype games and then move on. The first 6 weeks of classes have had us following the formula of developing gameplay sketches for a specific genre and theme, physically prototyping the best concept with crafting materials, and analyzing our designs after showcasing them to the class. This has led us to “fail faster” and learn from our mistakes. Below are quick summaries of the games I prototyped:
- Salami Tsunami: A maze game where the player controls a drunk driving pizza delivery boy on an island ravaged by tsunamis.
- S.I.M.O.N: A bullet-hell re-imagining of the Hasbro game Simon.
- Lunar Lunch Wars: A turn-based strategy game in space involving a rotating map and food fight combat that moves characters around in zero-gravity.
- 16 Second Smoothies: A frantic puzzle game where players quickly make tasty smoothies out of strange ingredients just by seeing the finished product.
- Dogpile: An entry-level turn-based RPG where players stack dogs into pairs and send them into battle.
The second half of the semester is focused on tightening my best of those 5 prototypes and then converting it into a digital prototype. I most likely will be continuing work on 16 Second Smoothies because I definitely hit my stride best designing that game. I feel there’s a lot of room to improve my design along the way, but I think the mechanics are solid enough and simple enough for me to be able to make a digital prototype.
Game Tech I
Game Tech is a course where we learn the basics of Unity and use the skills we are taught to make a new prototype every 2 weeks. While I’ve been using Unity for 4 years and know a lot of what my professor is teaching, it is still nice to get to relearn certain topics and be able to test myself with each prototype. We are unfortunately given very little direction, but it gives me a chance to grow independently and I get to help my classmates when they have questions. So far this semester I’ve made:
- A simple puzzle maze where a player can shift the color of the world to match the walls they want to walk through.
- A vertical shooter where enemies randomly spawn and players can fire multiple blasters. (This lesson focused more on animations and sound, so I tested my abilities with the random spawning.)
- An endless runner where a UFO chases a kid on a bike and the player must activate turrets along their path to set the UFO back.
This pattern will continue throughout the semester, and I believe we finish the semester with a turn-based game. I’m very excited to finally learn some new stuff, but this is a great course to test my abilities as a programmer and scripter.
I’ll be back later on in the semester with any updates on my design! I’m also planning on participating in a game jam in the coming weeks.