Game Design in Toronto II: The First Semester  

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Here goes my second post about studying Game Design in Toronto's George Brown College. A few months ago I already published one where I talked about how to start studying a program related to video games. Now I will tell you what do we do in class, what does the program exactly consist of, and what subjects have we had during the first semester.

Game Design Theory I
This is the subject where we learn to do Games, with a capital 'G'; as well as understanding what games are, both on their own and in the socio-cultural environment where we create them. In this classes we don't just listen to the teacher (Adam) talking, but we students also take part in an active way, sharing our opinions and experiences. Furthermore, the class ha a great practical component: from trying out board games to creating our own video games. I have to admit that this is my favourite subject!

Sample assignment: Make a board-game. A difficult task for whomever hadn't played to many board games before, but a very satisfactory one for everyone, especially during the last couple of weeks, when we had to test our games. Mine was a card game, Terror, inspired on violent conflicts among "armed forces" and "insurgencies". I'll tell you more about it some day!

Trying out our board games; and some cards of "Terror".

Game Psychology I
It's a subject more related to the previous one than I had originally thought, as proven by having it just after it and with the same professor, Adam. The dynamics, thus, are pretty similar: we discuss topics that can range from gender in video games to hiperreality, going through uses of color and even what do we consider art in video games; we listen to other opinions, both from classmates and from outside of the class, to contrast ours with; we talk about our own experiences, etc.

Sample assignmentCreate a safe exploration environment on Minecraft, in teams. Other assignments included mostly crafting ideas for several different games.

Using Minecraft in a post-grad program project? I'm in.

Game Storytelling
As the name suggests, in this subject we learn to tell stories. It isn't applied just to video games, but we rather talk about storytelling in different media. Before the course started, the narrative was already one of the elements that interested me most on video games. But I have to admit that at first, Nicks unique speeches threw me a bit aback. However, later on, once you get used to them, what to say about a subject where we have entire hours dedicated to Tolkien, Martin, Lovecraft and Herbert?

Sample assignment: Do research and presentations. We had to tackle four topics between the twelve of us and talk about them on three different takes: in all media, in video games, and in our video gamesHere you can download the one that I made about Dialogue in general.

When a class ends and the whiteboard is full of such words, it means something is going right.

Advanced Level Design I
It's easy to guess this one: in his class, Brad teaches us how to create levels that are fun and coherent with the game's progress. The "Advanced" things is due to the Game Programming course of George Brown College also having a Level Design Subject. But, don't worry, as there is no need for previous knowledge for this subject (except for having played a lot of games, of course!). You don't learn just to design levels, but also how to make the design documents, how to make the levels mutually related, to analyze other games' levels, etc.

Sample assignment: Create a 3D level in UDK. Besides the challange of making a three-dimensional level, with a nice preparation and documentation, there's also the one of using the Unreal Development Kit. This way, we learn to use game engines others than Unity, the most common one among us students.

Designing a level for a game I labeled Inquisition.

Game Production Thesis I
This is, without any doubt, the most practical of all the subjects. On it, we started to develop our three large group projects. During its first half, we chose and designed the games. During the second, we could interview and add to our team several proven alumni from the Game Development and Game Programming courses, with us as project directors and leads. All of it, under the excellent guidance and the useful (though often contradictory!) advice of JP, the program's director.

In addition, we intend to present the games in the IGF (Independent Games Festival), try to make some money out of them, and even put them in Kickstarter. In order to do that we have to work as a company and we hope to take this as far as possible if we can. If you want to follow the updates of 13AM Games's games, Gunwolf, Infectoids and Mona, you can follow us in Facebook and Twitter and visit our website.

Infectoids (previously Siege), Gunwolf: Quest for the Wolf Gun and Mona are 13AM's current projects.

Game Management I
On his class, Wojtek does teach us not just about the video game industry, the different roles on it, and how to be a good manager and/or leader; he also helps us a lot with the management of our own 13AM Games projects.

Sample assignmentMake Gantt charts for our team projects. The varied assignments we have in Game Management help both with managing our projects and developing oneself as a leader and a manager.

Gantt chart, small-sized, so that you can't steal our management secrets :)

Design Documentation
Finally, a subject that's useful as well, but a bit tiring for me — documentation always is both of those. With Dan, we learned what's the different documentation written in the process of developing a video game, and we also learned more about that very process, as well as other general knowledge about how the industry works. It was also the most focused class in making presentations for pitching our ideas to different kinds of people.

Sample assignmentWrite a Game Design Document. Yes, we had to write a full one, between 20 and 50 pages if I recall correctly, for the individual games we will be making as our thesis games in summer. Mine was great, with loads of information, almost 70 pages, but, Dan, I deserved a higher mark! I made a mess with the delivery hour (what sense does it make, Canadians and many other people in the world, having 12 pm as midday and not midnight? having 12 pm after 11 am, and 1 pm after 12 pm? none) and I uploaded the document without the page numbering, missing one map, and 1 minute late, but I deserved a bit higher mark!

Sample pages of the GDD for my final project, Arerthia Rises.

I hope you found this post interesting. I'll gladly answer to any question, I'll thank any comment, and I'll give more information about all of this in the blog in the future.

This entry was posted on lunes, enero 20, 2014 at 2:33 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

3 comentarios


iEstoy encantado de aprender de mis discursos únicos tienen mérito! - N


22 de enero de 2014, 16:30

Good one about game design Toronta!

21 de agosto de 2014, 9:15

Mobile gaming is too interesting for me. As we design new games it would make us more exciting and to design games we have to pursue our degree or diploma in gaming and aspire the desire of designing games. Choosing the best game designing course like video, mobile etc is important.

4 de septiembre de 2014, 8:16

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