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Old 09-19-2009, 07:44 AM   #1
Tenacious Stu
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Default Negotiated Project In Visual Communication - Suggestions

I am just beginning my second year studying Computer Games Design at the University of Wolverhampton. One of our modules for this semester will be a Negotiated Project, which means we go to our lecturer with an idea for a project to do and if he gives it the 'okay' then you work on your idea for that module. My career goal is to become a Computer Games Designer, so I was wondering, what project should I suggest that I do? i want something that will really benefit me and by desired job role. One idea that I had was to create a Game Design Document (although, perhaps not a full one as I will only have 12 weeks), as this would allow me to show my skills as a designer as well as creating some artwork for it. I would include things like characters, levels, story, control schemes, game mechanics, etc. If anyone can suggest anything else that would be worth doing, please let me know. Thank you.
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Old 09-20-2009, 04:14 AM   #2
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Personally, I would be tempted to design a non-digital board game to put in my portfolio.
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Old 09-20-2009, 02:24 PM   #3
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I agree with Adrir a board game is a great idea, you can still make the GDD but actually play and refine your game this way.
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Old 09-20-2009, 10:56 PM   #4
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Personally, I would be tempted to design a non-digital board game to put in my portfolio.
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I agree with Adrir a board game is a great idea, you can still make the GDD but actually play and refine your game this way.
And would this benefit me when it comes to job interviews? Can you suggest any examples of a type of board game that I should be designing? Another idea I had was to create a card-based game? Are there any other ideas that people can suggest?
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:36 AM   #5
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Game design is more than just making digital games. A board game is an excellent, easy-to-make (well, compared to getting a team together to make something digital), and portable (as long as you don't overdo it) example of your work.

The first three games I ever really designed were board games, which came in handy when I hooked up with a programmer to make... digital board games. I like to think that having those board game designs already completed helped me get the gig and 'prove it', which is something designers have a hard time doing.

Sadly, we only made one board game based entirely on my design (out of three games that came out of the collaboration) , but we did get included on a few demo discs for magazines like Macworld. I was still in High School at the time, so it really felt like a big deal. The money was nice too; nothing amazing, but it paid for a lot of books and such when I went to college.

Looking back, I wish I had put more effort into making MORE board games instead of assuming (falsely) that I'd be working on digital games from there on out. I'd have a pretty big collection by now.

Anyways, I guess the morale of the story is... board games show you can design. Buy a nice leather-bound portfolio, print up the game boards and photos of the game in action, and a copy of the instructions. If at all possible, bring a playable copy whenever possible.
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Last edited by Retro : 09-21-2009 at 09:38 AM.
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Old 09-21-2009, 12:37 PM   #6
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And would this benefit me when it comes to job interviews? Can you suggest any examples of a type of board game that I should be designing? Another idea I had was to create a card-based game? Are there any other ideas that people can suggest?
Card games can be good to (or games that include cards)...but you have to be careful not to try and replicate something that has a lot of conent like Magic: The Gathering.
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Old 09-21-2009, 11:18 PM   #7
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So you guys think I should design/create a board game, okay, well I will suggest it to my lecturer and I'll be sure to let him know that people in the games industry suggested this. I can suggest a few ideas to him and he will decide which direction I should go in, so does anyone else want to contribute any other ideas as to what I could suggest?

What examples of board games would you suggest if I ended up creating one? Could I just design any type of board game or is there a style I should try to follow?

Thanks for all the help by the way, its much appreciated.

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Card games can be good to (or games that include cards)...but you have to be careful not to try and replicate something that has a lot of conent like Magic: The Gathering.
I have in fact never played Magic: The Gathering, however I am familiar with the Pokemon trading card game and Yu-Gi-Oh
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Old 09-21-2009, 11:22 PM   #8
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I have in fact never played Magic: The Gathering, however I am familiar with the Pokemon trading card game and Yu-Gi-Oh
Hehe, well the same principle applies across a range of card games (such as TCGs) -- too much content!
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Old 09-22-2009, 06:06 AM   #9
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Hehe, well the same principle applies across a range of card games (such as TCGs) -- too much content!
I know, how many Monsters/Magic/Trap/Trainer Cards do you need? Just keep it simple right guys?

So, I'd still like to hear any example board games from people and I'd also like to hear some other suggestions? Thanks for all the replies so far!
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:13 AM   #10
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Having had more academic experience in Graphic Design than game design at this point (and having had entire courses devoted to portfolio prep), I'd have to suggest the following nuggets of wisdom;

- Go with a portfolio theme that unifies all of your work, but allow it to breathe a bit so you can show that you're not just a one trick pony. One of my professors used to tell the story of a guy who did a full-on coffee themed portfolio; website, brochure, business cards, stationary, etc., and he snatched some used coffee bags from Starbucks and slipped them in the lining of the portfolio. He showed he was capable of several different tasks, and had a theme that everyone who looked at (or even caught wind of, literally) would remember.

Why? You are much more likely to stand out if you're "The Dinosaur Guy" or "The Coffee Guy" than if you present a new theme on every page. That said, don't make everything look the same. You're free to go wild, and that's a good thing, but try to have something that makes your portfolio memorable as a whole.

- Keep it Simple. As Adrir suggested, don't produce a game with complicated rules and 500 game pieces. My first game used cardboard disks (I think they were pogs, that shows how far back I go) and a few chess boards pushed together.

- Avoid Pitfalls. Anything with dungeons and/or dragons. Any variations of an existing game. Anything that has the potential to offend or be misinterpreted.

- Really have fun with it. A lot of people who claim to be game designers consider board games to be 'below their level', but board games are a fundamental part of gaming. Think beyond the traditional games of Chess / Checkers / Go / Monopoly / Sorry / etc. and do something crazy.
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