Every semester DIS arranges core course week. Core course week is a week where our learning is taken out of the classroom and into different spaces that engage in the core classes that we are in. Overall the experience was unlike any other learning experience I have had. This week I appreciated the fact that learning does not have to happen in the classroom. Learning is a continuous process that should not be confined within the four walls of a classroom. Another beautiful thing about the core course week is that as classmates we were able to interact with each other more which usually doesn’t happen in a classroom setup where we are sitting and listening to our professor teach.
Here is a breakdown of how the core course week went down!
Day 1: Game Jam
Game jams are events usually about 2-3 days long where people meet up to create digital or analog games. The DIS game jam was a 48-hour challenge to create our own 2D games bottom up. By the end of the 2 days, we were to have a prototype of a working game that revolved around the theme “One Button”. Coming into the game I was anxious because I wondered how I would be able to make a game after only learning about game development using Unity for a mere 3 weeks. I was also recovering from a cold so I was not really as alert as I would have liked to be for the game jam. I worked with a group comprised of 2 other amazing classmates and they did most of the work lol. We created a multiplayer 2D platformer game. I worked on the camera controller and helped with creating the background looping effect. My other 2 groupmates worked on the players and the obstacles.
I am a slow learner and this is a fact that I know about myself and have somewhat made peace with. The game jam pushed me to test what I have been learning in my class and lab in a way that was uncomfortable but very necessary. I’m the type of person who feels like I have to know everything about a certain topic before I can make something and share it with other people. The game jam pushed me to rely on whatever I knew thus far and with the help of google, create a working prototype for a game. Something I would not think I was capable of after learning for 3 weeks. Although I got frustrated at my pace in the game jam – I wanted to work faster, more efficiently and contribute more to the group, I learned and did not give up That counts for something.
Day 2: Game Jam and Escape Room
We continued working on our games from 10 am and till 2pm after which we presented the games that we had made and had the chance to play each other’s games. I was impressed with the games we had all made and it was also fun playing each other’s games. Later in the evening, we went to an escape room at Mystery Makers. I have never been to an escape room before. An escape room is a is a physical adventure game in which players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints, and strategy to escape the room in the time allotted (Wikipedia). It was really engaging. The fact that I was away from my phone for an hour and utterly engaged in this one activity was refreshing.
Day 3: Rest
We had Wednesday off and I went to the library to do a technical interview which I completely failed at 😦
Day 4: Vallekilde Hojskole (High school)
Early Thursday morning we left for Vallekilde Hojskole (High school) located in the Island of Zealand. Vallekilde is a folk high school. Folk high schools are institutions for adult education which emphasis on personal development, learning different subjects without the pressure of having exams. They were founded by Grundtvig, a Danish pastor, philosopher, and teacher. I actually did a presentation about him in my Danish Language and Culture class. It was amazing that I had a chance to spend a day at a folk high school. Vallekilde has different learning tracks one of which is game design. We spent the day learning about puzzles and escape rooms. We created our own puzzles in groups and had a chance to play each other’s puzzles. A highlight of that day was singing “With a little help from my friends” by the Beetles from their songbooks during the morning assembly that we attended.
Day 5: Aarhus University and ARoS Aarhus Art Museum
On Friday we spent the morning at Aarhus University learning more about the game design process. We learned about citizen science which is public participation in research. We got to learn from the citizen science research team at Aarhus University. The team creates fun games that help in their scientific and social sciences research. We got to play one of their games, Quantum Moves, a game that helps in quantum physics research. In the afternoon we had lunch at the Aarhus central food market then went to the ARoS Aarhus Art Museum which is famous for its rainbow panorama. We were then treated to an exceptional dinner at a Globben Flakket. I loved the salad, which is an anomaly. That’s how good dinner was. I loved the salad!
Day 6: The Lego House
On the last day, we explored the Lego House in Billund. I never played with Lego blocks before so it was pretty remarkable that the first time I played with Lego blocks was at the mother ship. We explored the different zones that emphasized different aspects of play. The zones explored cognitive skills, social skills, creativity, and emotional intelligence. Having lunch was a whole experience that involved Lego blocks, human waiters and robots. That’s the best way I can describe it.
All in all core course week was fun, engaging, I bonded with my classmates and learned a ton!