For many, video games are an escape from life’s hardships and a gateway to a more desired reality. They have been proven to be able to help individuals dealing with depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Video games enable players to engage in fun, entertaining content by themselves and with other people, but their usage doesn’t end there.
The modern era of the video game industry has seen creators develop software that aid in education, job/skills training and even sharing of cultures through illustration and creative narratives. The impact video games have had on the world is huge. Whether it’s providing new job opportunities for those in the Arts such as voice acting or musical composition for game titles, new forms of sporting competitions in Esports or new opportunities for business and marketing through streaming and content creation on platforms like Twitch, this 138.4 billion USD industry (Statista, 2021) is a thriving environment for all those interested.
The ultimate question is, how are video games made? What is the process? Is there a science behind game creation? Or is it as easy as 1,2,3? Well, I’ve been exposed to the approach through the Seprod Foundation Video Game Design Ambassador Scholarship Programme which enabled me to take on such a course offered by the local entity, Halls of Learning.
Hi! My name is Duran Brooks and I’m a big fan of video games, however, that’s not what’s important in this article. What is important is my review of this course done by Ubisoft, a very well-known and successful game publishing company, along with Concordia University, that teaches participants about the company’s approach to game design.
Game Design can be defined as the art of applying design principles and aesthetics in the creation of a game for entertainment, educational, exercise or experimental purposes. It involves a process of conceiving, planning and directing the creation of the video game. The task overall demands a strong background in logic and working knowledge of game theory and human psychology. This course offers exactly that.
The course, which is gamified, delivers such content akin to an old school adventure game’s point-and-click format. The course, which is split into two separate ACTS, each contains a series of chapters which outline different approaches and theories taken by Ubisoft over the years. Each chapter contains a set of missions which the participant must complete, involving quizzes and design assignments, that give participants experience points (XP), a system used in video games that has been applied in educating those interested in video games. These points are what allow participants to go through each chapter of the course. There is also a rewards system that provides participants more ways to gain XP and a ranking system to help motivate participants to do their best on the course; it works, trust me.
The course not only illustrates Ubisoft’s approach to game creation, but shows how their approach can be applied not only to their own titles, but that of other award-winning titles such as Super Mario Odyssey, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, God of War, etc. This helps to make the information more relative to the participant as they are able to see these techniques applied to the very same games that they play. In my experience, I found myself intrigued with each application of what I was learning to the games I was playing. I also developed a higher level of respect for those in the industry due to the extent of creativity and dedication the game creation process entails.
Throughout the course participants will be designing their own game, which is assessed by those within the course community. I am in the process of finishing the design of my own game which I hope to be well-received by my country as it’s meant to shine light on a certain oasis on our island that holds great opportunity for a compelling narrative involving our history as well as commenting on how we should protect both its area and its people.
In all, the course truly shines a light on the once murky subject of how to create a video game and enables participants to be at entry level for work in the video game industry. What’s more is that the course does not require any prior knowledge or experience in software development nor any of its associated tools, so literally ANYONE can learn.
If you have ever wondered how video games are brought to life, wanted to gain the knowledge that wasn’t offered at your high school or university, if you are an experienced game designer or game developer looking for insight into the secret sauce of a successful game publishing company, or just love video games like I do wanted see what’s under the hood then this course is for you.
So sign up now and take on the pursuit of becoming a Seprod Foundation Video Game Design Ambassador Fellow!
Statista, 2021 – statista.com/statistics/246888/value-of-the-global-video-game-market/