Izmir, Izmir University…

After a break of almost 8 months, I’m teaching again. This time I’m a full time assistant professor at the Film and TV department at Izmir University. The department is newly established and it is a nice challenge to be part of the process to make it flourish.

Izmir University is located at Göztepe/Izmir, just a 2 minutes walk from where my parents live and where I grew up. I’m happy to have back this feeling of proximity.

I found a nice place to live, and it looks like my two cats are happy with the place too!

My contract runs until September 2014.

 

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Narrative Design and Audio-Visual Style in Games

These are the slides of a lecture on narrative design and audio-visual style that I presented last year in December at the METU Informatics Institute Game Aestethics course. I hope you enjoy it!

Narrative Design Seminar at METU, Ankara

On Monday, October 31, I’ll be holding a lesson as a guest lecturer at the Informatics Institute, Game Development Program, METU, Ankara.

The program looks good:

11.30-13.00 Presentation as Guest Lecturer

Classic Drama Theory and Video Game Story Structure: A Comparison

This lesson gives a brief overview of the three-act-structure in classical drama, and then compares it with various story structure types in Video Games.

14.00 – 15.00 Video Game Narrativity Seminar

Four Categories of Interaction and the Articulation of Narrative Layers Through Player Input

This seminar gives a brief overview of the analytical categories used in narratology. The four basic categories will be then further studies based on game examples to give a picture on how player interaction actively manipulates narrative layers in order to articulate narrative structure as a whole.

The seminar is public, so I hope a few of you can come by.

I’ll be sharing the presenation slides here on my blog after the lessons, so stay tuned!

Game Project Presentations Finished!

Finally the big day came and my game design course students presented their game projects in class. Some were really cool, some still needed some work, but when considered that we had only six weeks during a very very hot summer time, then its really nice what my students put together.

A quick post-mortem

What went right:

Rapid prototyping and iterative design turned out the be fruitful and prevented right from the start that students got into some sort of “writers blog”. Actually any sort of writing has been kept to the minimum during the process, so that student developed the habit to “show it”, rather than to “talk about it”. I only asked for a one page high-concept in the first lecture which was assigned for the next day. I quickly read through these and asked everyone to bring a paper prototype of their game idea for the coming week, so that we immediately could start discussing systems and mechanics on what they had brought to class. Those who couldn’t nail it down within the first two lessons were asked to go for a simple racing game design, an idea which I am Brenda Brathwaite very thankful for. Combined with a grading system that put emphasis on attendance to game testing sessions, it “forced” student to stay focused throughout the six weeks they had. Despite the quick prototyping and the limited time that students had, it was amazing to see how much the initial ideas transformed and developed into totally different games.

What went wrong:

I was surprised to realize that all student projects required still more testing and design iterations. The theory/practice ratio of lecture hours was approximately 1:1, but I urgently need to find ways to create a ratio of at least 1:2 in favor of practice. This simply means that I have to deliver the theory more compact, with simpler to understand examples from games.

Another weakness was that I had not developed any effective measures in monitoring the progress of the iterations in detail. Students (although they were asked to do so) rarely ever kept lists of the changes they made to the game and how these altered the behavior of the game and the status of the players. Often memorizing was my only way to follow the change in projects. This definitely calls for the development of a formal method to standardize the ways in which testing results and change in the designs are logged. This log must become part of the grading in order be taken serious by the students.

Most of the students totally skipped the reading assignments. I had to reduce the number of articles due to problems they had with the english language. Students had huge difficulties in understanding the texts and therefore only learned something from the summaries I made in class. This is sad because they really miss the chance to know about some of the coolest articles on game design that you can find out there. I’m also a bit of the Old School and I strongly believe that reading is an essential part of the educational process. However, I must come up with ways that make it easier for students to read what I told them to read.

Conclusion

Despite the many “wrongs”, I’m happy with how the summer school went and I’m looking forward for the coming semester. Hopefully another game design course, more projects, more game discussions, more fun! It’s just phantastic to be in midst of it.

The Ludosphere: In Turkish?

A few days ago I thought I should also maintain a game blog in turkish. The fact is that there are not many game blogs for turkish-speaking audiences that are interested to learn game design and development. In that regard, I believe a turkish blog with articles on game design would fill a huge gap.

I’m still planning on the structure and the feature sections on the blog, but I believe that within a month or so I could be ready to launch a turkish version of the Ludosphere.

Let’s see. Any feature requests are welcome!