This module was very interesting to do. I chose the gaming module–which ended up being what I expected: making games. I love playing games so I wanted to attempt creating a small game. Since the modules spanned a duration of 2 weeks, and since they took place on our own time, I didn’t have much free time between class, work, rowing, and other homework assignments to truly invest in my project.
My game idea was to create a telephone game using colors and a line of birds. The birds would each alter the message and the player would have to remember what the original message was and repeat it. Then, after the player was successful more birds would join the line of birds and make each level more difficult. In the end, my product did not represent this idea.
What took me the longest was finding software to start using. I tried using Construct 2 but I felt like the interface was difficult to grasp on my own. After trying other software and not finding any easy ones to learn, I returned to software I used in high school called Scratch. It’s an easy software to make browser games within the site. The code is written by dragging different blocks into a workspace to build a program. Coding Sprites and events are super easy. The only real drawback I had with Scratch was taking my method of coding and translating it into the Scratch coding language. I have experience coding in Java and some Python, so I understand the principles of coding. Scratch feels like learning a new language to me, and I find it much more difficult. I don’t know if having more or less coding experience is good for learning Scratch because I found Scratch confusing in terminology when I first learned to code, and now I find Scratch frustrating in creativity. Scratch has a load of creative potential for users, yet I often found myself struggling to find and format the coding blocks to fit my needs.
Because of my struggle with Scratch and the short time limit, my final product did not end up being like my original idea. Instead of a fully-fledged game, I ended up with a prototype for a mechanic. I learned from the readings that prototypes are part of the building process of a game (it’s not all made in one go) and that each prototype is playtested and receives feedback for the developer to use to better improve a mechanic or the game as a whole. My prototype focuses on recognizing the correct order of colors, receiving the player’s input, and telling them if they are correct or not. It took me way longer than I first thought it would to write this algorithm, so I have yet to add a way for it to reset or repeat the pattern but the game is “playable” in a sense. The player can copy the bird’s pattern and receive feedback if they were correct or not. It’s by no means a game, but it’s a game prototype. This is a game idea I’ve had written down for a long time so I’m definitely going to further expand and develop this project into something more fully formed in the future.
Despite the setbacks and lack of a game as a product, I really enjoyed learning more about the game making process through reading the articles and resources available on the module’s webpage. I learned why games take such a long window of time to develop the concept, polish the UI and mechanics, and ensure a quality player experience. I will definitely continue working on this project and hopefully, turn into a product for my portfolio or a hobby. This was the only time I’ve ever been able to receive guided instruction on making a game so I was super excited to do this module, and I’m very happy with the knowledge and experience I’ve gained from participating in it.
The link to my game can be found here, feel free to check it out and leave a comment on some feedback on my progress so far!