Hi, I'm a Games Designer/Developer and I'm most intruiged and impressed by your project.
As a coding orientated website and the project itself it looks very inspiring. I am familiar with your direction, aims and goals. The forum and website software has a great feel to it.
However, I'm aware elements of Design are missing in Games, as a whole. I'm not the only one who represents a wave of people who would like to see more Design related awareness amongst developers - particuarly Indie Developers. I'm of the belief that Design should be taught (even if alongside) in most, if not all Games related degrees and courses.
I'm not going against anything on this website - I'm bringing the point that Design is mainstay in the lifetime of a Games project. I had that nailed into me at university and I am very glad to have this perspective.
What is elemental about anything someone can create? You must design it after all.
Think interactivity as a whole, rather than code this, paint that. I'm not just pointing at Coders, it's the same for an Illustrator, a Story writer, a 3d Modeller/Animator.
The computer science aspect is thriving here in a positive way and it's great you want to share and teach. Though I'm worried the website subject matter is extremely biased towards just the programming. What do you guys think?
As a current student, what is a valid way to parse good design recommendations from bad ones? I'm constantly at war with what the professors tell me and what seems to be a cleaner focus here in the HandMade forums.
Well, like I said, ... there are almost no good design recommendations. Especially, in someplace like school, you would be very very lucky to have someone on the faculty who is actually good at design and can give you good advice. Mostly I think people should treat school as a place to learn the basic context behind everything, just to build up general understanding, but not really a place that will teach you how to do the *good* version of anything, because they don't really know, for the most part.
One general rule that is usually good is to keep things minimal and elegant, and always try to reduce the complexity of what you do. But that is *not* really because minimalism is the best thing in some platonic sense. It is because by minimalizing the overall complexity of everything, you are also minimalizing the number of mistakes you will make, and the number of bad interactions you force the user through.
Going to device-and-UI design for a moment, for illustration ... To the extent Apple has "good design", it is almost entirely because they try to follow this minimal aesthetic. They make a lot of boneheaded decisions but for the most part they are reined in by that constraint. (I think Apple is actually pretty bad at design, but everyone else is worse, especially Microsoft who is way worse, so Apple still ends up winning). Sometimes they try to stretch minimalism too far in one dimension and end up with an unholy mess in another dimension -- see for example how terrible interactivity now is on iOS, and how many different hiddden button press and tap combos there are that nobody understands, all because they refuse to add another button and/or modal interface to the device. Meanwhile I still accidentally go into copy/paste mode all the time when I am just trying to scroll a web page and it is super-annoying.
You don't want to over-minimalize, because you need enough complexity to suit the goals you are trying to accomplish, and if you try to push lower than that, everyone will suffer. (Apple has this problem all the time).
But at the same time, if minimalism is not a constant constraint pushing on what you are doing, you will generally end up with a terrible design (see anything Microsoft does).