Hello, my name is Craig. If you are reading this we most likely know each other or have a connection through friends, family or colleagues. I am a secondary school social studies teacher from Vancouver, British Columbia will complete my Masters of Educational Technology degree from UBC at the end of this year. I have just started my penultimate course - an independent directed study - that focuses on my main interest, games and learning.
I have set myself the task of designing and creating a mobile game. The finished product will likely be some combination of game and interactive story for Canadian students touring Vimy France in April 2017 for the centenary of this pivotal First World War battle. At ten days-in I am already overwhelmed but excited with the process.
I am realizing that my motivation for the project has been driven as much by ignorance and optimism as it has by my belief that games, mobile media and place-based learning have a healthy future in education. I am eager to shed my rookie-gamer /dilettante status and match my interest and enthusiasm with some deeper gaming and design chops.
The advice that I have received so far and the sources I have read all say the same thing: play games to know games, iterate rapidly, seek feedback of those who matter - and listen to them. Jesse Schell, iconic game designer and scholar at Carnegie Mellon University calls-out listening as the most important skill of a game designer: listening to your team, audience, client, game and yourself (2015, p.3).
He also says that “Your first ten games will suck - so get them out of the way fast,” and, “if you aren’t failing, you aren’t trying hard enough” (2015, p.5). However, my favourite Schell quote so far addresses the need to include as many different perspectives as possible, and speaks to my limited experience and lack of programming skills:
"Game design is more art than science, more like cooking than chemistry" (2015, p.xi)
I have no team but I have a plan...
I invite you to follow my progress on the website connected to this blog where I will be posting game reviews, design documents, links to prototypes, significant findings and reflections.
Schell, J. (2015). The Art of Game Design: A book of lenses. CRC Press.