Extension Approved – Do not mark until 11pm Sunday 07/05/17
What did you learn about professional development by going through the design process?
Before entering into this Game Design degree I was under the impression that if I ever needed any help or guidance when it came to game engines and coding, I would easily be able to find answers online. Undoubtedly, the Unity game engine and C# scripting are so widely used that there are countless forums and tutorials spread across the web. What I have learnt during this cycle of game development that I cannot simply rely on these online resources to help me complete a creative work. Games are complex and unique. It is this uniqueness that makes it very difficult to web search for help when you get stuck during game development. There are often tutorials and forums that answer some aspect of my unique problem but when it comes to code, one gap and it falls apart. Without a second set of eyes to guide my work and fill in these gaps I wasted many hours hopelessly searching for established answers to my unique problems.
I have learnt that as a professional I must use the peer to peer resources available to me to the fullest extent in order to improve my game development knowledge and skills. If I had have worked more with peers and experienced tutors during this development cycle I am sure I would have been able to produce I higher quality game. In future I intend to expand my game knowledge base to a point where I am a more valuable asset to my peers. If I am able to learn enough that I am able to start helping others when they get stuck, they can help me in kind. I understand my limits as an individual and accept that game development will never be a solo task for me moving forward as a professional.
What did you learn about the other majors in the degree by working in mixed teams?
As a Design Major I felt as though I did really well to steer the team towards creating a novel and interesting game idea for this cycle. The Drug Raid police game we developed came together very smoothly during class time. All of us were able to contribute to a well to creating a cohesive game experience. The first thing I learned as a Design Major is that it is one thing to develop a great idea. It is a totally different thing to implement those ideas into a functioning game prototype.
In this cycle I was very much forced to confront my limitations as a Design Major. This was especially apparent when I played Angus’ (a Software Major) prototype and compared it to mine. It was abundantly clear that his previous knowledge of C# contributed greatly to creating a game experience in line with our original idea. I have learned that I should have worked more with Angus to improve certain design elements of his game and asked for help with the scripting elements of mine. This could have been a mutually beneficial partnership that I did not take full advantage of.
Due to all of us having much busier study schedules than the last cycle, the only interaction we were able to have as a group for this cycle was during the class activities.
What did you implement in your own individual work that you found the most satisfying?
In a broader sense I found it very satisfying to overcome the Unity and C# challenges I faced during development. While I was only able to implement a few features that were not covered in the course content tutorial videos, it felt great to test the game and FINALLY have a feature work that I had spent so long tinkering with.
In cycle 1 I was not able to create an interactive menu and restart button so I challenged myself to implement these in my cycle 2 game. The tutorial videos provided a great basis to work off for creating a menu but did not cover a restart button. By learning about how buttons work in menus I was able to adapt that which I had learnt into a restart feature for my game. It was very gratifying to finally see that button pop up when I died, release the mouse from being locked and clicking the button to reset the scene.
I also really enjoyed creating a functioning gun. After years growing up playing FPS games it was a great experience to ‘demystify’ the inner workings of a basic FPS gun and player controller. Learning about object animations through creating the gun was definitely the most fun to tinker with.
Do you think that there are any ethical issues attached to designing a First Person Experience inspired by recent events?
In my opinion there is undoubtedly ethical issues associated with creating a FPS inspired by recent events. The reason FPS games are so popular is that do very well to immerse players. The player is in direct control of what that game character does and experiences those actions from a very realistic point of view. So when creating a game that is inspired by recent events a game developer must consider the ethics associated with giving players ‘First Person’ control. This is especially true for our realistic police game which addresses the recent event of ‘body cams’.
We are giving players the power to control a police officer. In real life, police go through years of training to be given the right wear the uniform and all the responsibilities that go with it. As developers we must be conscious that those playing our game lack the training yet we are still giving them the responsibility of a real life occupation. Therefore we should be implementing game features which teach and encourage ethical behaviour. We must also accept that by giving players a gun and a police uniform in a game they are able to directly control the life and death of the game characters around them. There is a whole other debate about whether this kind of control is detrimental or has any effect on people in the real world but this kind of direct control must be considered all the same. On the other hand, if we want to create a game which presents an unrealistic portrayal of police officers then we have an ethical responsibility to communicate that is the case to our players. Above all we want to make a game that is fun. But when making a game inspired by real police officers we must maintain a balance between fun and the appropriate ethics of first person control.