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This is a review of the Will Wright Teaches Game Design and Theory class from MasterClass!
The MasterClass Instructor – Will Wright
Will Wright opens this class with an introduction to what this class will cover and the core aspects of his multidisciplinary game design approach. He talks about how as a game designer, you are dealing with two computers, the electronic one and the more complex and fascinating one, a player’s brain. For those who are not familiar with Will Wright, he is the game designer behind The Sims and is the co-founder of the former game development company Maxis, which is now part of Electronic Arts. He now runs a think tank called Stupid Fun Club Camp.
In this class, Will Wright covers his multidisciplinary game design approach through fundamental concepts and then transitions outward towards more strategic thinking concepts. Some of the fundamental concepts covered are the psychology of the player, mental modeling, how to develop and use your game mechanisms toolbox, how to create structure, emergence, and detailed worlds, and lastly how to predict what will motivate players in order to pull them into your community.
Game Design and Theory – Who is it for?
This class is for anyone who is interested in designing their own game. Will’s own games focus on simulations of real life, but he uses this class to talk about the fundamentals of game design and theory as they apply to a wide variety of genres. Throughout this class, Will encourages viewers to build different prototypes to practice and test certain design mechanisms, but they are engine agnostic so no matter how much programming experience you may have you can learn lessons from your model whether they are built by using paper and cards or using programming software like Unity, Unreal, or Game Maker Studios.
MasterClass Will Wright – Main Themes
- Build your toolset
MasterClass Workbook – Will Wright
The workbook for this class will be your guide to developing your own game. It provides a review, learn more, and assignment section for each video lesson. The assignments provide lots of opportunities to build small interactive experiences to test various game mechanisms and concepts. As mentioned before, the workbook encourages viewers to find what medium works best for them. Whether this be using small tabletop models or a programming software, both can be successful as long as it can be built quickly and a core lesson can be learned from the model. The workbook also has suggested reading lists, great vocabulary lists, and a downloadable Game Design Document template.
MasterClass Game Design and Theory Key Takeaways
Will Wright has created an in-depth and inspiring class that really allows viewers to learn the ins and outs of his multidisciplinary design process. It covers a wide range of fundamental topics that all have to be balanced by the designer in a game’s final product. The class goes through how to develop your game concept and how to use prototypes of all mediums to answer core questions. The class also really dives into player psychology. Viewers use this to understand how to create a player-centered experience that focuses on the player’s needs and provides them a sense of agency and responsibility. When looking to develop your game further, the class looks at the iterative process of prototypes, play testing, and game demos.
Your vision has to carry you through. Not just your vision, but your ability to communicate that vision to other stakeholders in the project.
Lastly, Will Wright talks about his experiences and tips for entering into a career as a game designer. This section focuses on communication and collaboration within one’s own design team and how to pitch ideas to diverse audiences. Will also takes a few minutes to talk about where he thinks this field is going and advises rising game designers to stay-opened minded to the wide variety of technological advancements.
Final Thoughts Will Wright’s MasterClass
This class had my attention from the very beginning! Will Wright has created a class that provides an inside look at his thought process when designing a game, while also inspiring viewers to find their own creative voices. If you are looking for a class that will provide you with the tools you need to design your own game, this is the class for you!
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