Two days ago we talked about the benefits of writing a development blog….well….sort of. That was my intention, until I got to 500+ words and had not started on the specific benefits I wanted to cover. In the interest of avoiding glazed over eye balls and, lets be honest, stretching out content (muahahahaha), I decided to make a part 2.
This is not a complete list but 4 major benefits (IMHO) of writing a game development blog are: Receiving feedback about your project, a log of progress to reference and look back on, articulate problems with the game and community building/interaction.
Even if the people reading the development blog are other students from inside the class, a design blog allows for eye balls from outside the classroom to see the project and ask questions. While feedback in the classroom in great, there are times when a good question comes to mind but the students aren’t in class anymore. Good thing there is a blog online for students to ask their questions no matter when they think of them. If the students want to share their game ideas with people outside of class or school and get their thoughts, they have the option. Family and friends can follow along and provide questions from a perspective from outside the school setting.
A Progress Log
This whole idea about keeping a development log does not take into account how long the development will last. Maybe it takes place over multiple school years? If the students are detailed enough, they will be able to pick up where they left off when they come back to school the following year. Maybe there is a student that runs into a similar problem and they can go to the log of a different game to see how the problem was handled. What if, in the future, the student in is a job interview and they are able to reference back to their progress log to show how they dealt with a problem? The benefits of being able to refer back to past progress are many and invaluable.
When problems arise during the design process and students need a helping hand, they can reach out to their community. In order to get that help, the students will have to describe their problems in a way that makes sense and allows for readers to give an informed opinion. No one wants to read a novel and try to figure out what the problem actually is. Students will get better feedback if they can succinctly describe the issue they have run into. Not only in the blog format, but over the course of time, students will get better at describing their issues in the classroom. A major pillar of design is to say as much as possible with as few words as possible. In the quest to figure out the issues they come across, they will experience one of the pillars of design.
If students are able to get a group of people interested in the progress of their game, they will start to build a community. As the community grows, they will need to learn the skills of community management. How to engage people, how to respond to people, how to take input from people. In a world where social media is how we communicate, being able to learn community management in an environment build around their own creation is probably a better than the anonymous nature of the internet.
Thank you for sticking it out with me on this one. Are there other benefits you can think of that would apply to this kind of exercise?
If you have any ideas on how games can make great educational tools, please share them in the comments section or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org