Journal Catch Up Part 1


25th 11:35
Decided to start this game diary electronically as an example of one for the students that I will be teaching in September on the Games Design and Programming Units.

The idea for this came from a desk copy of the book Game Design Workshop (2nd Edition) by Tracy Fullerton (Publisher Morgan Kaufmann).

I received the book a couple of weeks ago along with a pile of others (which I will cover in later entries). Just reading the first chapter on Passion and Skills got me really excited to teach the Games Design unit next year. The exercises in that chapter alone are simple but amazing and I think will be really effective.

And it was Exercise 1.4 Game Journal (chapter 1 page 9) that has inspired this electronic version that I am writing on the iPad.

The full text of the exercise is as follows:
“Start a game journal. Try to describe not just the features of the game, but dig deeply into the choices you made, what you thought and felt about the choices, and the underlying game mechanics that support those choices. Go into detail; look for the reasons why various mechanics of the game exist. Analyze why one moment of gameplay stands out and not another. Commit to writing in your game journal everyday.”

With the students I will be suggesting that they use a notebook for this. Me I’m using my iPad and the PlainText app. The reasons I’m doing this is because I take my iPad with me almost everywhere. When I don’t have the iPad my iPhone is with me, and I can use my iPhone and the PlainText app on that. The nice thing is that PlainText syncs with Dropbox which means my journal can be stored there and can be used by either version of the app.

Back to the exercises, well I’ll be doing them in this journal. But the ones in the first chapter alone are so great. They will easily enhance the unit, and if I can map them to what has to be taught and done as assignments then that will be fantastic. I also have to map the chapters to the unit as well so that the students can be directed to for further in-depth reading if they want to.

25th 13:00
Monday saw the arrival of two more desk copies that I got in for potential use with the games units next year.
The first I am going to talk about is the book Vintage Games by Bill Loguidice and Matt Barton (Publisher Focal Press).
I had read a sample chapter from this book on the Kindle app previous, and I had added it to my list of books to get. So being able to get this as a desk copy was a real boon.
The tag line for the book is “An insider look at the history of Grand Theft Auto, Super Mario, and the most influential games of all time.” Which basically tells you all about the book.
Each chapter in the book covers one game, covering it from several angles, like gameplay, history, development, it’s influence etc.
The nice thing is this and the next book I will briefly cover will make excellent background reading for the students.
The other book that came was Making Great Games by Michael Thornton Wyman (Publisher Focal Press). The tag line for this book also tells you all about it “An insider’s guide to designing and developing the world’s greatest video games”
The games covered in Making Great Games are more modern than those covered in Vintage Games. The game coverage in this book is more post-mortem style. Which is once again very useful for the students to read, as it will give them a glimpse into the game development world.

I like Making Great Games a lot. In fact last night the book inspired me to get World of Goo HD on the iPad so that I could get more from the chapter when I get round to reading it. Luckily I already have one or two of the games covered, which will help.

– Posted using BlogPress from my zx81

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