Jed Merrill, Producer/Game Designer

Week 4

Tuesday, September 17, 2013.

We present a rough presentation in preparation for Thursday’s presentation to Corrinne and Amy, our “clients” and representatives of our assigned customer demographic.

The biggest criticism is that we did not bring real fudge. I think we can fix that by Thursday… We are also told to speak slower and drop an unnecessary story point or two.

Tuesday Afternoon.

My co-Producer, John Schwarz, tells instructor Amy that we are considering ditching our PowerPoint/Prezi slides altogether and just talk over the live game on Thursday. She says this is bold but risky and could backfire on our whole team, so we each need to be on board. Afterward I discuss with John what we should consider for slides, but we ultimately decide to focus on the demo since it actually works. We expect that most other teams will play a gameplay video on Thursday, accompanied by slides.

After class, I sit in on the Bench to Bedside introductory meeting. I meet potential partners and enjoy free food from Costa Vida. We plan to each come up with five to twenty ideas and pick the best to develop. Participants receive a $500 materials budget and a chance to win between $5,000 and $15,000 in main prizes and a new category EAE $5,000 prize. (Total prizes offered = $40,000.) I review last year’s successes, including a game that encourages hand washing hygiene for autistic kids as they interactively pop bubbles with their hands.

Wednesday.

In Game Design, Sherry, Skip, and myself are one of the first two teams to lead the class in a one hour discussion. Our topic? The Military-Entertainment complex.

Sherry converts her detailed outline into the first slides of our presentation. People laugh as she displays several well chosen pictures.

Skip outlines cyberwarfare, his favorite topic from the reading. He suggests we all play Hacker Evolution Duality, available on Steam.

I personalize the topic with my own training and service experience in the Army National Guard. From paintball to FATS training and live fire exercises, I discuss the real world, virtual, and mix-of-both training the military does to prepare soldiers for the one moment when both their life and mission are on the line. I also go over the relationship between our various entertainment media and the military, how media like games affect how we view soldiers, and how soldiers now view themselves.

While I like many kinds of games, the soldier in me particularly enjoys games like Medal of Honor: Frontline, where we relive the D-Day invasion. While I spent time in Iraq, Qatar, and Kuwait, playing the game gives me a connection to historic armies, allowing me to step into their shoes for a moment and appreciate modern technology and the value today’s military places on life. Battle recreations are a virtual experience for which I am grateful.

Thursday.

Our final 8-Bit Fudge presentation! We get lots of great feedback. Roger congratulates us on “shooting our babies while in the crib,” an indelicate phrase suggesting we should never be unwilling to give up a creative idea for the good of the customer.

Our zero slide bet pays off, as we show off the only fully playable prototype of the first cycle. An engineer from India brags about getting the high score and we take his picture for in studio promotional purposes. There are other features I’d love to add, but the game works, and has a “chocolate coated Tetris” feel to the core gameplay,

Roger and Robert say this class is off to a better start than even last year’s highly thought of and nationally ranked class/program.

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