My First Design!

October 11 - 17, 2021

I designed a game!

I spent this entire week on my final project for Riot's Game Design Curriculum: my very own zombie apocalypse board game! Was designing a game from scratch what I thought it would be? Yes and no. While it was a ton of fun, it was also surprisingly challenging. Even after a week of iterating on my game, it's not even close to where I want it to be. The fun factor is pretty low, but it's starting to evoke the feelings I was going for! My biggest highlight was a play tester mentioning a moment as being scary. I got so excited I cackled like a mad genius (internally). Check out this very early playtest featuring the poker deck, chess pieces, and dice used to represent various things.

Even if it's not the best game I could have possibly made, it's got the nugget of something great in there. I learned the hard way in comp sci that, as a beginner, trying to create an amazing anything is not a great use of time. When I was new to comp sci, I spent months on a project that was out of my league that never got finished. What I should have done was dive into a new topic and continue gaining a breadth of knowledge. That being said, it's time to write up a portfolio piece about this experience. More on that next week.

A Huge Milestone

Someone responded to one of my emails! I sent about 11 emails before getting a response from a game designer willing to chat. And what a helpful chat it was. My main goal was to figure out what I should be doing on this journey.

My biggest takeaway from the chat had to do with scope. They highly recommended that any design writeup or portfolio piece be focused, concise, and in-depth. As an example, instead of doing a writeup on the entire design of game X, a better idea would be focusing on a single mechanic and relating it back to the player's experience. After all, a Game Designer's focus is entirely on the player, and it's critically important they understand how one decision impacts the whole experience. Fun stuff!

Next Week's Plan

I'm in dangerous territory right now. I'm super excited and want to jump in many different directions, but I need to acknowledge how important a portfolio is. So instead of moving on immediately, it's time to get my first portfolio piece out of the way. As I heard it: "The purpose of your first portfolio piece is to be your first portfolio piece."

I'm also going to keep reaching out to Game Designers! My first chat with a game designer was incredibly inspiring. I feel like I've found my people.

That's all for now 🍩