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GSE_Felix41 karma

The reasons why videogames are appealing are numerous and, as you very pertinently point out, can vary greatly depending on the individual/group approaching the game. Enjoying the narration, finding challenge in the mechanics, looking for distractions, dealing with pain, projecting happiness, cooperation, conflict or social necessities, teaching others, teaching oneself, the list goes on. However, their core quality of interactivity sets them apart from almost all other media and speaks to our innate need for configuration and experimentation, tugging all the right emotional and psychological strings. Games have been with us since the very beginning of humanity as we know it, aiding us in survival, learning and socializing, and videogames are a natural extension of these principles as the qualities they can project are numerous, yet each one has its own potential as food for thought or a learning experience. Our individual preferences, personalities and competences make us all perceive videogames differently, leading to the above list (which is by no means exhaustive) of reasons people are intrigued and drawn in by the medium.

As to the game making process, it obviously depends on the size of the team and project, however a number of steps characterize almost all processes of making videogames. To say a game is 'bad' - I really want to be careful with subjective language here - usually means that we gave it a thorough analytical look, trying to find markers that we can at least more or less objectively describe as bad. Of course again understanding that every statement we make about a game is potentially subjective and up to debate.

Did you join our stream on Twitch by any chance? Quite often I talked about the 'elegance' of game design and I think that's definitely an indicator for a good game. How easily does a game allow us to sink into its logic or narration? If a game struggles with that, may it be due to technical errors (bugs) or any other reason, it's usually not well thought-out in regards to its game design.

GSE_Felix14 karma

Needless to say, I do argue that videogames do have an impact on players - I do see them as worthy of analysis, after all. Just as needless to say though, this impact cannot be generalised.

Videogames as cultural artifacts can rouse joy, provoke thought, and provide grounds for many other kinds of experience. There are videogames that have incredibly fine-tuned approaches to ethical questions and the topic of violence - I've written my master thesis on Spec Ops: The Line and still find myself coming back to that often as an example because it is that good - but of course there are also videogames out there promoting pretty terrible stances on violence, offering it for different reasons - to break taboos or to provoke media attention and press coverage for being 'so wrong'.

As a scholar in that field, showing how diverse the medium is shapes a core part of my agenda. Society has developed quite a fine-tuned approach to evaluating literature and film, for instance, but with videogames, public attention still falls into that "videogames (note the undifferentiated plural) are bad/addicting/etc" too often.

I do see a bright future for games. Over the last ten years especially I noted an incredible surge coming from the indy and AA scene with videogame productions that dare to tell different stories and to break with norms of the gaming industry that are capable of reaching more and more of an audience to show that videogames can be much more than what a general public still seems to think they are.

Even more so, I think that a proliferation of 'easy access' game maker tools allows more people to gain the understanding that they can express themselves artistically by making and designing games, which is great :)

GSE_Felix12 karma

Glad that I could make this awesome for you! :-)

GSE_Felix5 karma

The program differentiates itself from a number of others because of its interdisciplinary nature, as it is run jointly by the Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Technical Sciences of the University of Klagenfurt. One of the main reasons for such an approach is the early realization, even before the days of the program's inception, of the importance of studying games from both a critical, as well as a practical perspective. The early theoretical divide between narratologists and ludologists has taught important lessons, one of them being that the medium suffers greatly when its two essential elements (narration and mechanics/gameplay) are split.

To this point, we specifically designed the curriculum to deliver both perspectives relatively equally. One of the main ways this is done is via the compulsory subjects of the program: students beginning the degree with a technical sciences background will have the Cultural and Media Skills supplementary subjects first - students entering the degree from the humanities side will conversely have the Engineering Skills supplementary subjects earliest in order. From here on out, both of these key perspectives are reinforced (bear in mind that students themselves can choose when to take these classes in the duration of their study) with the Game Engineering and Game Studies modules - 5 courses in both of these give our students in-depth knowledge of a variety of related topics. This ranges from classes focusing on practical game criticism, through an introduction to computer graphics and the basic creation thereof, to a comprehensive analysis of currently-influential topics in and around games.

The students have more freedom in choosing their restricted electives, though both modules (Game Engineering & Game Studies) require a minimum number of courses passed, again emphasizing the program's focus on an equal delivery of theoretical and practical knowledge. The classes offered here range from work with interactive systems and human centered computing, through a much closer approach to graphics engineering, whereas the Game Studies electives introduce students to the terminology of media and IT law or improve their terminology for dealing with games. Finally, our students can choose from a wide variety of courses for the free electives module, allowing them to supplement the knowledge they've picked up with a whole slew of other topics the university offers. One thing to stress: our curriculum recommends a route for when to take which courses, yet the students have full freedom to decide their path.

GSE_Felix5 karma

That is a very good question - and fully dependant on what kind of art you want to get into. Would you like to draw with pen and pencil? Pixel art? 3D art maybe?

Best advice I can give you when it comes to the actual creative process is to equally rely on learning and practicing. I'm a hobby painter myself for a couple of years now and training myself in Blender, a 3D modeling software, and it's the constant back and forth between doing something - seeing how things work out, seeing what doesn't work out - looking up on how to improve this, and practicing again.

You might also want to consider taking part in so-called game jams. These are events in which you get to gether with a team of people and make a (very little, prototype-y) game within a timespan, quite often around the 72-hour-mark. Many of those are offered online but there are also local game jams. We have at least two on campus every year. Join one as an aspiring game artist. Chances are pretty high that you'll end up with a team of cool people and a mentor who can show you what they learned so far and where they got their skills and tools from.

It's also a great way to check and see what it exactly means to create art for a game :-)