A Day in the Life

One of my favorite questions to ask people is what a day in their shoes looks like. And it occurred to me that people might be curious what a day in the life of a game design student looks like, so here goes.

First, the disclaimer: of course, there’s no typical day. I’m currently in term 5 of 6, so my team and I are in the midst of production for our final game projects. Thus, our schedule these days consists largely of production tasks rather than classes. What follows is a conglomeration of bits and pieces from the past week, summed up in a single day.


Snooze a few times, then get out of bed. Walk the dog. Read news and game blogs while eating breakfast. Start some preliminary research on design/programming issues for the day.


Brainstorm design/programming solutions on the bus ride downtown.


Stand-up meeting. All team members stand up and share what they worked on yesterday, what they plan to work on today, and quickly bring up any issues they’re having.


Start working on the game. This week, I’ve mostly been working on programming the main mechanics and features of our game, like character movement, collision issues, implementing our main mechanic, integrating art, and putting in some basic user interface elements.


Project development class. Instructors check on each team’s progress, helping out where they can and pushing us to make the best design decisions possible.


Work with teammates on different design/programming issues.


Street Fighter. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a great programmer. My brain can only handle so many if statements before turning to mush. Street Fighter breaks are a great distraction.


Project development class again. This time, with mentors. We’re lucky to have a variety of excellent mentors with years of experience in the industry who come in and genuinely care about our projects and our progress. They point out the fatal flaws in our designs and push us to design holistically.


With instructors and mentors out of the building, ping pong tournaments and various antics ensue. After all, game design is all about having fun, right?


Logic is waning at this point. Still programming, but now with the priority being on not messing things up. Progress is slow but steady.


Lock my computer. Walk to the bus stop while decompressing with my teammates. Catch the bus home.

This may sound like a hectic schedule, but believe me when I say that I’m loving every moment of it. Every night when I get home, I can’t wait to get back to work. This is the stuff dreams are made of.