brendan@bdparker.com
585.748.8301

Game Design Portfolio

Game design has been a hobby since early childhood. I defiled my books, drawing mazes and puzzles inside the covers, and vandalized my school assignments with sketches of imaginative characters. At an early age, I would sketch video game concepts, level designs, and intricate maps on any canvas I could find. Before my teen years, I made fully functional games with Maxis Klik and Play, and early version of Clickteam's The Games Factory, bringing my ideas to life. In High School, I would spend countless hours drawing and crafting games for my own amusement and to showcase to others. Additioanlly, I develpoed 3D worlds with the software I had available, write music to accompany the games, and designed new charaters, worlds, and situations fora player to explore.

In my Bachelor's Program, I was exposed to novel technologies and design programs such as Adobe Suite and Autodesk Maya, which advanced my skillset. In my Master's Program, I studied a flexible Information Technology curriculum, choosign to make Human-Computer Interaction the focus of my degree. With remaining courses, I elected to take as many Game Design classes I could. In these classes, we learned why games work, what they are, and how they engage the playeer. Part of this course involved developing multiple game concepts and projects, demonstrating the storytelling, character development, and design skills we discussed in class. I would investigate and apply the new and comprehensive theories of Janet Murray (and countering ludology), learn about pioneers like Nolan Bushnell, and study the storytelling and narrative formulas of Aristotle. During this time, I also had the pleasure of serving as a Graduate Assistant to other Game Design cuorses being offered at the time, increasing my knowledge and depth of the curriculum. I also elected to occasionally sit in on courses in which I was not currently enrolled to expand my knowledge of the development cycle.

I still produce concepts for games, as well as digital music, accompanying graphics, and storylines in my free time. Most recently, I developed a concept for a simple platform-style game which uses gravity as the ddevice. Wanting to observe my idea in action, I programmed a simplified version in Flash, finishing in February of 2012. I also elect to read books and articles which discuss games and game concepts, particularly in tandem with education.

My theory is that many educational games make the mistake of forcing content into the game for the player's direct observation. rote learning can certainly be effective, but when the user is playing a game, they want to feel like that is what they are doing. Learning comes from the experience, not the content, If content is forced, it distracts the user from the game and forces them to focus on the content. Therefore, the education will come from the experience. An example could be finding the area of a rectangle. A math classroom would pressent the student with a rectangle with absolute measurements, ask them to determine the answer with a clear goal and steps to solve the problem. The student would then calculate the area by multiplying the sides. An educational game hasa bit more flexibility. Instead of creating hard guidlelines, the game could present the student with manipulatives, such as 1x1 squares, and loose directives, such as asking them to make a shape, make one of a specific size, or just let them explore on their own. The student will eventually raeslize and see that the area of the rectangle can be determined by how many squares are used to contruct it. Next, the game can take these observations and state what area is, what it means, and explain it to students. This way, the student arrives at the answer first, not the instructor. The student also knows why and how area works the way it does before learning about what it is. This promtes greater understanding and also facilitates more curiosity about the topic. It also promotes conidence in the student. Normal teaching methods tell the student what they don't know. This method allows a student to discover something first and then learn about the details.