Juan Uys

Week 2 — You can't know the answer yet.


Week 2 is all about creativity.

Coming into this course, one has a fairly good idea of what one likes, and what one is inspired by, and we’re here because we want to learn how to make all those beautiful and inspiring things. We want to be just like our creative heroes.

A question I’ve been asked, and have seen asked others, is “What new skills do you want to learn first?”

Learn all the things

I want to say “all of them”. (It’s easy to be pulled into all directions by a Gamasutra Daily in your inbox, as I am currently…) But, I also know I have to think hard about the question which comes before that one: “What is it that you want to build?”

We circle back to creativity. Figuring out what to build is almost a creative process in itself:

  • you don’t want to make a copycat game
  • you want to mash genres but not be too esoteric (or perhaps you do, and cater to a new niche!)
  • you want to make a living, so you can continue making games
  • you don’t want to spend the next 5 years on a passion project and “hope” to make it big

I drift on, pondering.

Still, it never fails that some students approach me within minutes of reviewing the problem outline to ask if their immediately formed concept is acceptable. I tell them, “You can’t know the answer yet. You haven’t put your ideas to the test or pushed them through any options!”

(Hermano and Somerson 2013)

Perhaps I don’t know the answer yet.

But I will remain open: “we found that openness to experiences predicts creative potential” (Jauk et al. 2013).

And I will keep on making. Small games, doodads, doodles, whatever.

Although it is often perceived that artists, designers, and creative thinkers experience “eureka moments” in which a brilliant idea emerges, in practice, creativity is a long process. It often requires the maker to make something again and again, learning each time from the previous iteration.

(Hermano and Somerson 2013)

Iterate, iterate, iterate.


  1. HERMANO, Ma Alessandra L. and Rosanne SOMERSON (eds.). 2013. The Art of Critical Making: Rhode Island School of Design on Creative Practice. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
  2. JAUK, Emanuel, Mathias BENEDEK, Beate DUNST and Aljoscha C. NEUBAUER. 2013. “The Relationship between Intelligence and Creativity: New Support for the Threshold Hypothesis by Means of Empirical Breakpoint Detection.” Intelligence 41(4), [online], 212–21. Available at: https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S016028961300024X [accessed 28 Sep 2020].

This post is part of my critical reflective journal and was written during week 2 of the module development practice.

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