Stop Motion Animation Setup

Honing Your Craft: Projects That Make You Better

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The Two Gifts A Game Designer Needs

In The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Jesse talks about the need for two gifts, a major gift and a minor gift, that makes a game designer successful. The minor gift is the 'innate gift of a given skill' (6). The major gift is the love of the work. Jesse explains why the love of the work is more important than the skill:

If you have the major gift, the love of designing games, you will design games using whatever limited skills you have. And you will keep doing it. And your love for the work will shine through, infusing your work with an indescribable glow that only comes from the love of doing it. And through practice, your game design skills, like muscles, will grow and become more powerful, until eventually your skills will be as great, or greater than, those of someone who only has the minor gift. And people will say, “Wow. That one is a truly gifted game designer." 

Second Edition. Chapter One, page 6.

While our team members all have the major gift, a true love of creating game experiences for people to enjoy, they sometimes need to spend time honing their minor gifts. As it was mentioned in the first post of this series, our team members use Jam Week to explore new experiences the studio should consider, or spend the time to make themselves better in some way. This article is going to look at how our Schell Gamers continue to sharpen their "minor gift", their given skill. These three 2017 Jam Week projects cover location-based-entertainment (LBE), stop-motion animation, and art. 

I Expect You To "Dine"

I Expect You To Dine Menu

I Expect You To Dine was an escape-the-room experience in one of the studio's conference rooms during the 2017 Jam Week. The 30-minute experience placed players in a dining room, with the goal of  figuring out what was going on, and getting out of the room. Led by game designer Anisha Deshmane, the 10-person team transformed the conference room and added physical and technological interactions in four days. 

Ieytdine Dining Table Ieytdine Team Working Ieytdine Lauren

Why This Project?

"We wanted to see how far we could push the theming and the puzzle-making in a limited space" Anisha said. What was also interesting about this project was that this team had more than just designers on it- producers, operations and engineers were part of the team too. "A lot of people in the studio do not get the chance to work on physical experiences, so Jam Week is a good time for us to get out of our comfort zone or try something new and different" Anisha remarked.

Though some people in the studio haven't worked on physical experiences, Schell Games has done quite a few. Anisha was on the team that completed S.E.C.R.E.T., a LBE project we did for the Children's Museum of Houston. Anisha and her team used Jam Week to hone their skill of LBE, and the studio got the chance to experience a really cool escape-the-room demo.

Ieytdine Secret Device

Try figuring that out!

Stop-Motion Animation

Kyle Kenworthy, a principal animator at Schell Games used Jam Week to explore stop-motion animation. 

Stop Motion Animation Setup

The setup

Run2 Gif Cartwheel

Some of Kyle's creations

Why This Project?

Kyle wanted to see how he could use stop-motion animation with his 3D animation work. Kyle also thought he might be able to glean some tips and tricks to make his 3D work even more awesome. 

Drawings by Ryan Yee

Senior Artist Ryan Yee has used Jam Week to carry on a particular tradition. He selects a number of Schell Gamers to draw, using pencil for the sketches, and vine charcoal for the final drawings. Through several Jam Weeks, Yee believes that he has done close to a quarter of the studio.

Ryan Yee Setup Ryan Yee Drawing Of Francisco Ryan Yee Drawing Of Jesse And Anna

Ryan turned the mezzanine into an art gallery

Why This Project?

Ryan said "I like working on traditional (non- digital) studies because drawing from life is more difficult with all the variables that are out of my control, from the lighting, to the model moving around, and other factors I need to consider." Ryan also said that it helps him to interact with people he normally doesn't work with in the studio. Ryan related, "People have told me that they have enjoyed my project too because of how different it is from the others." Ryan said that some Schell Gamers use their portrait as their profile pictures on different social media sites! 

Max Admiring Ryans Drawings

Max loves art.

Conclusion

Talented people cannot afford to rest on their laurels; they need to work hard and continue to refine their talents and keep up with the new techniques and technologies that allow them to become better. Our Schell Gamers' attention to honing their craft has seen results. From award-winning games to potentially life-saving experiences, our amazing team is only getting better.