The carefree moments of playing and living in a world of our own abstract creation are essential to every childhood. Playing is how we discover the world, how we get to know ourselves, how we interact with others. Playing is our way of experimenting, pushing the limits, breaking the borders, learning about love, friendship, resilience, pain, ethics, everything that matters in the human world.
As we grow older, we have less time to discover, relax, or investigate something in depths. We no longer just take our time to grab a metal bar, swing it around pretending it’s a lightsaber, while not paying attention to a chandelier above our heads that we will smash to pieces in a minute (guilty!). This is why we like to be introduced to games from time to time, games designed to project our brain into a different reality, the one we are no longer creating actively ourselves as we once did when we were children.
Designing a game is an art form on its own - it is a beautiful combination of designing a visual space and making it interactive and user-friendly. Game design merges a variety of knowledge about psychology, aesthetics, mathematics, social phenomena and the process of learning, and it creates an art piece which communicates and develops different parts of the human brain.
Game design implies creating a set of rules and goals, with many challenges on a journey to reach the goals. Each set defines a game, be it board game, role-playing game, dice game, card game, sport, war game, casino game, video game, or a simulation of a life segment that brings different outcome from interaction with the player. Depending on what we are designing our game for - different aspects of the game are in our main focus. A game which has a goal to educate will focus more on the strategy and iterative decision-making, while Googles dinosaur just goes on and on until you're back online.
Games offer us an inexhaustible way to learn about human behavior, psychology, and sociology, but also discover more about the way our brain cells are connected (The Stanford Prison Experiment might not be the best example). It is scientifically interesting what impact video games have on the minds of those who play them, and scientists confirmed that some abilities such as orientation, pattern-shaped memory and sense of time are more developed among people who play more video games.
If you are thinking of becoming a game artist, as a designer you will have an opportunity to help create a new world, starting with choosing and designing the figures, board, cards, or drawing a storyboard for a video game. Designing games can teach you how to use narrative elements and storytelling for game plots, visualize many different storylines and challenge your designing skills, especially if you dive into video game design.
What is truly revolutionizing the video game industry today is a rapid development of virtual and augmentative reality software and technology. This tech is giving us more possibilities by month, enabling us to discover games which are placing the game features into our own bedroom, able to turn your home into an escape room - and all you need is a pair of lenses. The world we grew up with is struggling to catch up with this fast technological evolution, and all over the sudden - sci-fi features are not so sci-fi anymore.
Virtual reality is yet to be exploited as an art tool, and many contemporary creators are theoretically exploring the possibilities for virtual galleries, theaters, and concerts. The important focus of their research is that VR lets you enjoy the art piece without distractions, but also without collective empathy of the audience. But, more importantly, VR can sustain more interactive art, which is turning art into a game with an unlimited number of participants.
The gaming industry is growing bigger every day, expanding the variety of tools which are built for the sole purpose of gaming. If you have an urge to explore, and start designing life-changing stories which the users can experience with all of their senses, here is our recommendation for where you can start.
Unity 3D is the leading 3D engine which is super friendly to new users enabling you to learn how to use it fast, and very strong to satisfy you when you progress into a reality designing expert. This software is completely free for every game-builder and with a little help from GoogleVR plugin you can create your first game in just five minutes, and play it on both IOS and Android.
It is a fun and creative way to spend your afternoon, and you can learn something new every day. The only technical equipment you would need for this is a VR headset, which is now easily available for everyone.
If you are not so much into the virtual world, there is a large field of designing board games and card games (in fact, this industry makes the biggest capital on crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter), which is worth exploring and playing with. One thing is absolutely certain - game design has a great impact on the development of our society. Maybe you can be the change we want to see in the world?
Sources: Unity 3D, Mind Field, Instructables, Pergamon Press
Nina Petrov | @fusion_writer | www.ninapetrov.com