As a wannabe game designer, it has always been a mission of mine to extend the joy of gaming and grow a community inclusive of everyone on the planet, to share its captivating experiences. We all know that gaming is the most vibrant and dynamic form of entertainment worldwide. Its unique approach in fostering social connection and forging friendship is what makes gaming so impactful to the masses.
Gaming has always been a huge influence on my life from an impressionable age. As a matter, of fact, my degree concentration (Computer Information Systems) stems from my interest in working at a major video gaming publishing company like Nintendo or even Ubisoft.
It hasn’t always been easy growing up and living in a turbulent environment, but my mother, has always been right there supporting my numerous ventures which gaming was one of them. There are times when gaming has given me peace of mind in times when so desperately needed. Gaming was my therapeutic medicine against anxiety, depression, and grief among other struggles.
Upon this revelation, I began to ponder “if gaming has bestowed this sense of calm in my life, what if I could be given a platform to replicate its benefits to others who are desperately in need?” It was then while talking to a friend online, I was introduced to a video game design scholarship program offered by the Seprod Foundation.
The following day I did my due diligence and found out they are aligned with one of the world’s top 8 video game developing companies. Can you guess the name of it? Yes, am talking Ubisoft. The birthplace of some of the most immersive marvels one could explore such as The Prince of Persia, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell, Far Cry, Watch Dogs, Beyond Good and Evil, Mario + Rabbids: Kingdon Battle and as I love to call this title, “the big honcho himself” the Assassin’s Creed franchise. These intellectual properties (IP) are only but a glimpse of Ubisoft’s ever-growing catalog, which their influences are far-reaching and a company estimated net worth as of January 27, 2022, is $6.78B. – (MacroTrends.com – 2022)
Assassin’s Creed 2 (2009)
Being intrigued by these facts, I was like “Yep, I want some of this action and I want it now!” So, the scholarship form was completed with all my required credentials along with one-minute video stating why I am deserving of this blessed scholarship. I am going to be candid with you all when I say I hated every second of making that video. You see contrary to popular beliefs; I am a shy person and Lord knows the anxiety chipped in like a boss mode in a Zelda game. But as a gamer, you learn to garner your confidence like how Link clutches his master sword to dispel that feeling and dominate the mission at hand.
A couple of days later I got a call from a strange number. With an unenthusiastic tone, I answered the phone. I was in a foul mood. It was the New Year, the job market was not inviting, got accepted to a university in Canada to continue my academic endeavors but experiencing issues in accomplishing that goal. So you have to understand why I was feeling very out of sorts at that time. Upon answering the phone, the person introduced herself as a representative of the Seprod Foundation She then informed me that I am one of the lucky candidates for the Ubisoft Odyssey Game Creators program. Needless to say, my grumpy mood vanished like fog on a bright sunny morning.
Graciously, I accepted the offer and went straight into the course’s content. I should have you know that I am not a strong coder so it was quite inviting news to know that the course does not require any prior knowledge or experience in software development nor any of its associated tools so basically you can be a total newbie and still complete the course successfully.
While navigating the content a few questions were answered. How do video games affect people’s lives? Do video games affect intelligence? What are the methodologies in game design? How can you tailor and make it accessible to fit various users (Architype) of the market for them to gain the full enjoyment of playing such?
The content resolved those queries by utilizing a gamified, intuitive format that resembles a point-and-click narrative mechanic. It divided The Rational Game and Level Design course content courses into 2 acts of 11 chapters, 43 missions, 8 design practices, 2 final activities, and 2 final exams. I know this might sound a bit tedious. But trust me when I say it is easy than you think due to the fact it is self-paced and the course has a plethora of interactive ways that engage the user in understanding its content.
In each chapter, I had to complete trials and final challenges to gain experience points (XP). The experience points (XP) have allowed me to unlock your next mission and earn keys. These keys allowed me to unlock rewards such as Mini-Games and Expert Videos. Another cool aspect of the course’s system was that earning experience points has allowed me to level up in the Leader board. Students who reach the top of the Leader board will also be viewed as a reference for the other students. It is part of your responsibility to help out and answer questions from your fellow game creators in the Q2A.
(Screenshot of my completed map for Act1 map for gathering the courses experience points)
As I progressed through the course, I discovered the epic story of Nagato, a shinobi warrior. Just like him, I practiced my skills and challenged my knowledge to advance through the first part of the Odyssey. The story of the hero evolved along with my learning journey.
I especially appreciated how the course exhibits Ubisoft’s approach to game creation, in regards to how it is applied not only to their titles like Assassins Creed but that of other award-winning IPs such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, God of War, Resident Evil and so on. Presenting the practical relevancy and real-world application of the program’s content, was the magnetic attraction that motivated me to complete the course with such effervescence and ease.
(Screenshot of the opening trailer of Act1)
Once I had completed the bulk of the course, I was able to build a prototype of a game geared towards enabling persons living with autism to learn various mechanics and communication patterns in a fantasy-driven open-world experience. The knowledge I acquired throughout the course placed me in an advantageous position in completing the task.
(Screenshot of my final activity for the game prototype)
(Presenting the “Auventure” game prototype)
If it was not for the initiative of the Halls of Learning, Miss Lisa D’Oyen, and the rest of the Seprod Foundation team, in collaboration with Ubisoft, this dream would not have been attainable. Also big thanks to my brother from another mother Ryan Dixon who paid for the course so I could move one step closer towards my goals.
Seprod Foundation and Halls of Learning have demonstrated exemplary professionalism and their influence by empowering me to dream big, giving extra support for me to become EXTRAORDINARY, testing me, so I could have a TESTIMONY to motivate others that no matter at what level with unrelenting resilience, ANYONE can complete this course.
So, with the knowledge acquired I now embark on that mission, of being an influential force in the gaming industry that has over many decades, which have earned vast wellsprings of pleasure and respect from billions of people all over the world fostering collaboration, goodwill, and acceptability for ALL.
I hope the individual reading this becomes as enticed as I was pursuing this journey of becoming a Seprod Foundation Video Game Design Ambassador!