Amanda Herz has been a student employee at Tiltfactor since the winter of 2016 and received a full-time fellowship in game design for the summer of 2016. Her daily schedule in the lab is usually varied, but Amanda works largely to create and implement games “with a focus on excellent user experiences.” While everyone at Tiltfactor works to target social issues and how to address these issues through games, Amanda is particularly focused on making sure that the games are as fun as possible for their players, because even the most impactful game will have no impact if nobody plays it.
To do this, Amanda is working in the game development program Unity, and has become familiar with creating art, storyboards, and audio for video games. She has also learned to effectively express and push for ideas she thinks are worthwhile. “You must have a balance between not getting too attached to your ideas but also not giving up on them too easily” during brainstorming sessions at the lab, she explains.
“You must have a balance between not getting too attached to your ideas but also not giving up on them too easily”
Indeed, according to Amanda, one unique aspect of Tiltfactor is that student input is highly valued. One of her own proposed ideas—to create a crowdsourced narrative game called Crowded Dungeon—is now in the process of becoming a reality. “As a student you have sway at Tiltfactor. If you have a good idea everyone’s really willing to take it on board.” Freedom is very important in a game design company, she adds, and she finds that kind of flexibility at Tiltfactor.
Currently Amanda is working with several other members of the Tiltfactor team to create an interactive comic game, which will be undergoing beta testing in the next few weeks. Amanda says she is staunch in her belief that all of Tiltfactor’s projects have the potential to make real impacts on those who engage with them. “I believe in our projects,” she says, “and I know they can create change.”