• Sarah

Phase 1- Week 1: Reintroduction

Updated: May 5, 2019

This week marks a change in my course of learning. I have begun my final year as BA student on the Games Design and Art course with hopes to challenge my design thinking and how I solve creative problems. The introduction to the week saw me look into how I will present my professional practice, via the means of business cards, CV's and portfolios. Through a talk with Adam, it has shown that simplicity served best amongst all of these touch points; giving a clear presentation of my work without gimmick or over stylised design. My work should speak for itself and for this reason I decided to create a simple set of branding assets for myself. This has informed how I have designed my personal website with the assets included.

Website branding which can be used across different touch points i.e. business cards, portfolio

I have designed my website so that it can serve as both a portfolio and a blog for project development. I have split the website into 4 simple categories; blog, design (projects), about me and a contact form, along with the homepage. On my homepage I have implemented an image carousel that will link to individual project pages (currently displaying stock imagery). However, once I add my own images, this may not contrast right and may come across as gimmicky this may lead to me use a 4 x 1 square grid as image highlights. I will test this throughout the semester.

We then were introduced to the outline of the semester, this showed us how we should go about the semester. The semester will be structured into phases 1 through to 4 which will be contained between the research and create phases. We will start with a number of interests which will be whittled down to 4 themes; these will be explored to find insights in these topics, what is it that truly interests us about that topic? We will then explore one of these in depth and create a research proposal around this theme. We will then move on to create phase which will see us test our insights and create many game ideas. These will then be consolidated and enriched in order for us to create a Games Project Proposal (GPP) at the end of the semester.

Semester 1 Diagram - Adam Procter

An important thing I took away from this is that during the research phase we should be solely focused on insights and focused research, not what we are going to make. In order to create games that push boundaries it's important for us to become somewhat of experts in a specific subject area; which will develop into unique game concepts and mechanics that are reflective of our research and creating.

Some important advice I took away from this session was to continuously talk to my peers, this will push me out of comfort zone and will stop me from being such a perfectionist. They will save me time with showing interest and giving ideas for development, to stop me heading down a stagnant path. I think its also important for me to set specific, time-set goals, especially in these early stages in order to keep momentum. I should also not harbour on to ideas, it's never too late to adapt and change an idea if its not working.

Following our introduction to 3rd year we had our sessions with James, introductions to TechShop and Building the world sessions. This involved a practical lecture exploring the A* Algorithm. I felt quite out of my depth however by the end of the lecture I started to understand the concept. I know understand that the A* Algorithm is path finding tool, finding our shortest available route.

Building The World this week was focused on manipulating probabilities.

The final part of the week was dedicated to launching our creative projects The Good Start/ Bad Start workshop. This task required us to explore: what makes you cry? what makes you laugh? what excites me? What makes me angry? What stimulates you intellectually? and what are your interests? At this point we had varying types of idea from very specific concepts such as "Apple Keynotes" and "Deadpool baby legs" to more broad ideas such as "exploitation" and "theories". The specific ideas tended to be bad start ideas as they were not rich enough to explore and therefore were retracted. At this point it made us question what was a good start; this demonstrated that ideas which pose lots of questions could be good ideas as they could become routes for our research.

We picked two of these keywords to carry forward to the next activities, these were "New Orleans" and "Food Phobia". These activities involved us picking apart, defining key themes and raising questions that interested us in these areas. For example for New Orleans; jazz, voodoo, racial issues, ownership, natural disaster, responsibility, identity, whats the significance of being buried near someone? who's responsible for the effects of Hurricane Katrina? what does it mean to own land? how does jazz make you feel?. We found that these topics were rich in themes and had some good questions for us to explore.

As well as this we used a methodology in John Ingledew's book, How to Have Great ideas. Making leaping jumps involved, using word association to find more interesting lines of enquiry. Child-parent relationships led us to ideas such as naivety and sacrifice which although completely unrelated could be stand alone topics that would be interesting to explore. Another methodology we used was persona perspective of that chosen topic. We explored Jazz, through the perspective of a police officer. Which brought ideas that "jazz promotes criminality, infidelity anti-segregation ideals and female sexuality, its an inconvenience, wrong, immoral and for second class citizens. By creating a perspective this could create insight to the topic and route within our research.

To play about with these ideas we illustrated key themes in a series of 6 images and sought responses. This was to open up possible related ideas, however I found that by illustrating New Orleans, that these ideas were too specific. If I repeat this task I think it will be important for me to try some more abstract illustrations, or even topics, to get some other ideas.

I have decided that in order to utilise this blog space I should use it to reflect upon my practice each week. I will develop reflections throughout the week in the morning and afternoon to collate at the end of the week. I will include research and ideas with the reflections, this will enable me to set targets for the following weeks. This overall reflections will be at the end of my end of week blog posts.