Howard presents with top game designers at national conference

Dr Jeff Howard, DSU’s assistant professor of game development and design, recently presented at the Writing for Games 2.0 conference at George Mason University in Fairfax, Vir. Howard also participated on a panel that included veteran game designer, Ken Rolston, lead designer of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and Rafael Chandler, who wrote for SOCOM4.

Howard conducted a workshop which helped participants aspire toward integrated design, in which all elements in a game’s world resonate with each other harmoniously, supporting one theme. The workshop took the form of a short game design jam with multimedia prompts including images, sound files and toys. It opened with some short reflections on games with unusually coherent worlds, in which narrative, mechanics, audio and art style support a single theme, creating a rare feeling of harmony – like the pieces of a jigsaw falling into place.

The exercise is derived from the Workshop on Integrated Design in Games (IDiG) at Dakota State University, where the exercise has been tested and refined inside and outside the classroom by conference leaders Dr. Steve Graham, DSU’s associate professor of computer game design/computer science, and Howard. The workshop was built around the conference theme of re-telling, or how do we re-invent a franchise while remaining deeply true to its narrative universe, without a misplaced element or sour note that could remove a player’s sense of immersion.

Howard teaches game development and design at DSU which includes classes in classical and contemporary myth and media, storyboarding, game mechanics and computer game analysis and development in the College of Arts and Sciences. Howard is also the author of Quests: Design, Theory, and History in Games and Narratives and recently signed a contract for a new book entitled Game Magic: A Game Designer’s Guide to Magic Systems in Theory and Practice.

Last Updated: 10/3/12