2017/18 Year 1 — Project 1, The Barbican

We are now almost at the end of Semester 1, but it has been a very busy time to our students! This year, our first-year students had the opportunity to undertake their first project using the Barbican location as an inspiration.

In our Games Design programme at Winchester School of Art we structured our briefs inspired by the Double Diamond strategy. Students start understanding concepts and ideas, followed by definition, exploration and then building/making designs and game concepts/ideas.

Researching

For the Barbican Project, we started looking at four aspects of research and visual analysis: collect, research, investigate and brainstorm. We took students to the Barbican for two days. During the first day, we had a fantastic Architecture Tour, in which we could learn more about each aspect about the Barbican. In this day, students had to deliver quick sketches of the location, reporting every aspect of the Barbican. The main objective of this activity was to train and exercise their observational thinking process. The results were very impressive. Some students had reported the way they’ve felt during the visit to the Barbican. Some felt they were in a prison, others felt they were relaxed. During the second day, students were asked to capture and record more aspects about the Barbican. This time they should be using digital devices like cameras and mobile phones to record videos, sounds and digital photos looking from different angles and exploring more aspects identified during the first day at the Barbican.

Making

During two weeks, students had to articulate their ideas and then expand upon the body of work undertaken before. We had library workshops so students could also refer their research in the Barbican to other artists, designers and other references to give it more context. We’ve asked them to make a sequence of images that could reveal some insight for a game environment. At this stage, we were not asking them to make a whole game; we wanted them to explore just the game environment. What our students delivered was very impressive. From utopian neon story-based posters to pixel-art sci-fi space-inspired animations, our first year students presented creative and outstanding images that could eventually inform the design considerations for a game environment. This included a set of characters, scenarios and any other asset that could inform the whole game environment. We also had musical sequences and stories that emerged from their experiences in the Barbican. The most important thing is that students have focused on just one aspect and managed to get unique ideas. We even had game environments based on dams, the human brain, psychology and blueprints! Every student managed to develop one single idea. It was a pleasure to watch their presentations at the end!

Next steps

This was just the start and there is still so much more to come. Our students have been busy. Now we have entered Project 2 Phase and they have more things to deliver before Christmas! Soon you will hear from us with more updates. Watch this space!

And don’t forget and follow the hashtag #excitingtimesatwsa on instagram and twitter.