Wednesday, November 15, 2006

new game design tool

Fascinating blog by Ian Bogost about a new game design tool being developed by Eric Zimmerman, James Gee and Katie Salen.

I chatted to Tony about this who was disappointed that they weren't using existing tools such as Game Maker for their research.

The way I see it is that game design and programming are different sorts of things and that student game development is more stuck at the design phase, where students usually just try to build a clone or slight variation of an existing game. Students don't usually do original game design work.

My current thoughts are:
  • by taking the work out of learning programming and visual representation they hope to focus more on the design aspects of developing a game, which they see as the rules of the system - the demands of learning to program can be a drag / brake on design elements, particular for students who find programming difficult
  • I think it would be a huge step forward if we had better tools to teach and communicate about design - the bit they say about rules being central is impt I think, I've been fumbling around looking at UML (visual rep) and design patterns (which might be a bit like rules)
  • some people use UML diagrams as a programming blueprint although Martin Fowler, the author of UML Distilled (my review) doesn't like this approach, it is still an approach, ie. diagram input --> code output - they might have something similar in mind, but using rules not a visual
  • in industry the designer (the ideas) are more important than the programmer and there is a division of labour in the production process
  • it seems to be a new sort of approach, different from the 3 Ecks:
    1. have students build games from scratch;
    2. have educators and/or developers build educational games from scratch to teach students;
    3. integrate commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) games into the classroom

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