I was sitting here, thinking about game design as I often do, and I had one of those little insights that become blog worthy. What should a game designer study? Obviously, there is the standard knowledge of game design that should be known such as theory and crafting. Also game design history, knowing who the important figures in the industry are. That only covers about 40% of the game design process though. There’s so much more besides things like MDA and iterative design that are a part of the entire process. Just to mention a few things:
- group management
- knowledge of technical capabilities
- knowing your team’s capabilities
- and a whole slew more
How difficult must it be for a Game Design Professors to try and instill all of this into students. I still think the biggest thing about higher level education isn’t so much what you learn, it’s learning to learn. Learning how to go through a process in order to find new information and absorb it. That piece of paper at the end of four years doesn’t really equate to anything more than you just got through four years of academics. You should also pull out more from it.
I often think of all of the things outside of game design that help game designers. Knowledge of storyline development, character development, the technical process such as programming and modeling, the cognitive process, etc. The list is humongous.
I’ve often heard of physics as the meta-science. It’s the science that covers all other areas of science, from biology to chemistry to genetics. Physics has bits and pieces of all of the other parts of science as part of it’s core. This is how I think of game design. It’s the meta-artistic medium. It’s the one medium that has to take into account so many different mediums, whether they relate directly to game design or not. Think about it. Psychology, sociology, art history, sound theory, graphic design, physics, mathematics. All of these and more go into game design.
Perhaps that’s why it’s so difficult for game designers to develop a core vocabulary. We have to pull from so many other areas to describe what we are making, that it’s hard to create something all our own.
Just a random thought…