Each morning, Cluster 5 students head to their classroom.

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Column: My first week of California State Summer School for Mathematics & Science

At UC Santa Cruz, COSMOS Cluster 5 — Video Games: The Design of Fun from Concept to Code—h as gotten off to a great start!
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/skim0375/" target="_self">Soyeon Kim</a>

Soyeon Kim

July 23, 2022
We started off our first week of COSMOS by transitioning from simply playing games to observing them from the perspective of game designers. Our first assignment was to modify the rules of games as simple as “Rock, Paper, Scissors” and by the end of the day, we produce as many as 32 new games. We also learned to focus on our feelings while playing a game, describing our emotions without using the undescriptive word “fun” (f*n). 

Each day, our instructors, Profs. Mirek Stolee and Dani Wright, allow us to explore various types of games, ranging from role-playing games (RPGs) to cards. For instance, Honey Heist was an RPG where we became a team of bears at a summer camp, making up our own story and crafting plans to steal honey. 

cosmos ucsc cluster 5 paper prototypes

Paper prototype created by a group of Cluster 5 students. Represents a modified version of the game “Subway Surfers.” (Photo by Soyeon Kim)

cosmos ucsc cluster 5 paper prototype

Paper prototype of a modified version of “Pac Man.” (Photo by Soyeon Kim)

After playing the games, we dove into specific game design topics. On the day we discussed the process of iterative design (ideate, prototype, playtest, evaluate), we made paper prototypes of our own modified games, visualizing their functionality and design. Through playtesting each others’ prototypes, we looked for areas of improvement and redesigned our model. On another day, we used a coding platform called Processing to attempt several coding challenges provided by our instructors, such as user input, object movement, and object-oriented programming. We always showcased our creations by the end of class. 

Our week flew by as we learned about the concepts of video (and non-video) games and made our own creations. All of us are looking forward to further developing our creativity in video game design by applying what we learned this week.

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