People often put creativity and logic at odds. This seems rather silly to me, an unnecessary and limiting binary. You have to be very creative to solve problems with logic, and creative efforts often demand a applied and determined logic. Creating a plot that keeps your reader engaged requires creating an internally consistent set of rules for your setting and applying them. I can’t tell you how many times people have told me that they found it odd that I loved both creative writing and mathematics, but honestly I love systems. When I started coding I found a wonderful blend of the creative creation of systems, and the analytic study of those systems. Plus, it makes me feel like a sorcerer.
I think that when you empower the player to experience and enjoy those systems and if you make powerful code you give designers the feeling of directly making the action. But there will always be a gap between design and code implementations. I cannot give a designer a tool that codes for them, and even the most detailed instructions are ultimately interpreted or else your map is as big as your world. And that is why as a new game designer I felt it was imperative to learn to code and to dive as deeply into that part of our field as I could. It’s wonderful to get to input values into a publicly available variable and change how high a character can jump, but I wanted to create how the character jumped. Does it use physics, or translate its motion across spaces? Is it pulled by an invisible game object, or are the motions one to one with animation? As a writer, I wanted to create stories to put in my games, but I wanted even more to lay the narrative in the foundations of the actions and logic that created meaning for the player moment to moment. I want to give the player the best tools to make their most meaningful stories within the worlds where they play.
Dave Warfield introduces the 29th pitch and play, excited again to see what VFS students can do with 4-5 months of creative control.
VFS recently hosted the Pitch & Play event for GD 29 and we were fortunate enough to be invited in order to write this article. The games that were presented tonight were The Banishing, Draka, Sneakpunk, Infinite Spectrum, and Nuts for Gems. As members of student teams currently in pre-production on our final projects, it was really interesting and inspiring to see the final result of these five months of work.
Sean Smillie acts as master of ceremonies and gives a personal introduction for each team and their game and explains that student teams get an industry mentor.
Recently several VFS students including Anna Prein, Alberto Mastretta, Michelangelo Huezo, Marcus Lembi and myself attended a local game jam hosted by iamagamerand supported by a myriad of local companies including East Side Games, Silicon Sisters, Radial Games, Indie House, and many others. Several VFS grads, many now working in the industry, also attended including Mario Gonz, Jess Garcia, Kramer Solinsky, Carl Graves, and TJ McLain.
All the teams got 48 hours to reach the same goal, to create a game with a strong female protagonist. The Centre for Digital Media was kind enough to provide the gymnasium where teams set up not just laptops and tablets, but computer towers, doubled monitors, speakers, and recording equipment. Across the table from Marcus and I, another team had a cello and a ukulele. The passion that the teams brought to this event was just as inspiring as the weight of the props they carried.