A Hard Day’s Work

What’s it like to be a game designer? Well, I’m pretty new to the field, but I can already tell you that it’s a lot of hard work. But also a ton of fun.

I started working this week as an official game designer. You know, out in the real world. My job? To design games that encourage kids to be physically active. Sounds a bit counterintuitive, using video games to get kids up off the couch, but that’s where the creative challenge comes in.

Our initial aim is to release an iOS game that is highly addictive and gets kids to move around to get some exercise. Because of the platform, we’re limited to iOS device capabilities, namely the accelerometer and gyroscope. (GPS and compass are possibilities as well, but we’re thinking most 6- to 12-year-olds would probably have iPods rather than iPhones.)

Because I’m working with a startup (the entire team is just 7 people), I’m in the unique position of having a lot of say in the creative process even though I’m fresh out of school. As the main designer on the project, my days mainly consist of brainstorming and research (i.e., playing comparable games and reading lots of articles).

And already, the many assignments we worked on and the skills we acquired at VFS are coming in quite handy. The deliverables on my list in the coming months include a concept doc, design doc, QA plan, tuning for pacing and difficulty, design of control schemes, and UI design, as well as numerous pitches to the team about different concepts under development.

A year ago today I was enjoying my last weekend before starting classes at VFS. And now, almost exactly a year later, I’m busily working away as a game designer. As I continue to brainstorm and design, I hope I never lose sight of what brought me to VFS and to game design in the first place: the chance to change the world through games.