When producing a game, it’s often expected within the industry that one should design for a particular audience (rather than for yourself or just for people like you) and of course this is the case if you are working for a client and the game is a product to be sold. The market and audience for a work is determined by the intention of the work, and my intention is to simply produce a game that showcases my skill set and creativity that can be displayed on my portfolio – but in this case the target audience would change, likely from the conventional game playing audience to prospective employers. In this case, the problem is how do I research effectively to deliver a project that achieves my intentions?
Unlike in the design field, when working in the creative sense, one is not necessarily seeking the ‘solution’ to a ‘problem’ – to a designer, the problem would be the unidentified market and the solution to conduct research; to a creative, the “Problem Centric Approach” may not in fact be the optimal mindset according to Barker (http://folksonomy.co/?permalink=1365) who argues that in fact “confusion, contradiction and incompatibility can be celebrated” if we take on the act of continuous self-reflection and make ourselves open to the unfamiliar, we can become “connoisseurs of our own emotion and experience” by not regarding these difficulties as problems to be solved, as “an obsession with ends tends to create a projective knowing or longing for outcomes and results” which can negatively impact the creative mindset. In short, we must instead accept that encountering problems and difficulties is part of the reflexive process and must be embraced in order to move forward and expand.
Building on this, I adopt Christopher Frayling’s model of ‘research through design’ (http://folksonomy.co/?permalink=589) to serve as my production ethic – using the production of my game as a vehicle for exposing ideas and possibilities which I might otherwise not have had the ability to engage with, if for example I used a conventional, research-driven production strategy, which would likely constrain the potential of the project. The game therefore provides me with an opportunity to explore contemporary ideas which characterise current games; thus the most logical way of addressing market awareness is to describe how my game would be located in relation to games within the existing market.
As I have chosen the Unity engine to build my game with, the option of online game hosting is available to me (allowing people to play the game inside their browser, rather than as a downloadable standalone) – many unity games are already hosted online, on websites such as Newgrounds or Kongregate, both which have a considerable user base, and enough games that they need to be organised into categories and subcategories. I will likely opt for a standalone download however, for performance reasons. As I am heading towards a game based on overcoming obstacles with the utilisation of specific tools available to the player, my game would likely reside in the ‘puzzle’ category as I would consider it a puzzle platformer.