12 May 2015

Digital Games: The Final Taught Weeks

The last taught classes of the masters course are done and the final assessments have been handed in. But the young game designer never rests. The past two months have been a series of non-stop work straight through the Easter holidays and into the summer break. It included pitching, theory work and creating a game demo.

Geopets was the focus in design. A solo project for the game design module. Geopets is an augmented reality iPhone/iPad tamagochi that uses geolocation and object recognition software to pin your pets to a particular location in the city. Originally, it began with the idea of using magic realism to enchant the day to day lives of citizens. Some brainstorming later and it had evolved to enchanting Londoner's commutes with creatures hidden in the city.

The pitch was done entirely using Adobe After Effects. The result was a 10 minute long animated presentation that illustrated the game. It took a relentless fueled week to create the presentation, including artwork and practicing the timing. Above is a short compilation of some of the highlights of the presentation.

After pitching the game comes making it. There were massive limitations in terms of tech (augmented reality and geolocation services in particular), however I found ways to simulate the feel of it through the games presentation. As this project was entirely solo, the biggest problems were overcome through feedback. A week into creating the demo I had people playing prototypes of the games. It became invaluable to making the game flow smoothly in ways that players could understand intuitively

Above are various screenshots of the demo. You can play the game here.

Theory work centered on my ongoing research on psychogeography in virtual worlds. This particular one featured how the architecture of Skyrim evoked a sense of place, drawing together fields of geography, myth and virtuality. Will Self's lectures were particularly useful in broadening the scope of the paper beyond games design.

End of March we had a Brunel research evening in which a group of us lecturers and students presented our research. You can read all about it in Ashley's blog.

And with that, the taught section of the course is over. Bring along the dissertation!

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