Week Five

In a complete change of pace from last week, Tuesday’s lecture was about Unity programming fundamentals. I think some of us found the previous lectures on matrix calculations and C++ a bit too advanced, so there’s been a change to the syllabus. It was obvious from the outset of the lecture that this wasn’t a change which was received enthusiastically by James, in fact the whole lecture had an atmosphere of begrudging reluctance about it. Despite this, I feel like it’s probably a change which will benefit the majority of the class who don’t necessarily keep practising their coding aside from these weekly lectures. As an introduction to this new syllabus we had to create a character that could move and jump. We were given a cheat sheet with a few snippets of code and tasked with developing this on our own. For me this wasn’t a big challenge because I have been doing this kind of thing in pretty much every project I’ve worked on since coming to university. Although, my worry now is that these lectures will continue to cover stuff which I’m already familiar with. Hopefully they will get slightly more advanced as we progress.

basic-motion

The rest of my week was spent continuing my research into homelessness and preparing for my presentation on Friday. Thankfully, I managed to complete my goal from last week which was to answer my two remaining research questions and create a project overview document. This allowed me to focus on creating a presentation which accurately reflected the culmination of five weeks of research into homelessness

During my research, I’ve looked at documentaries, journals, surveys, research papers, sculptors, photographers and even hairdressers. Throughout my presentation I felt like I explained my project well and showed the breadth of my research coherently. I also explained what I’m planning to use this research for which is to create a series of short games that attempt to highlight some hidden issues homeless people face. These games will be condensed experiences designed to convey simple, but impactful ideas. I think of them as short stories, parables or game vignettes.

Thankfully, I got great feedback on both my research and presentation. One of my goals from the outset of this semester was to try to improve my research skills and I think I’ve done that. I’ve struggled with research on previous projects before so I was really pleased to get the positive feedback.

After the presentations were over, we had a workshop in which we attempted to translate the learning outcomes for our module into plain English. I was in a group with Chris and we found this especially difficult:

learning-outcomes

These things are written in the most obtuse way imaginable, they feel like they’ve been purposefully written to aggravate the reader. There must be a unique talent to be able to write such horrendous crud. Despite the difficulty, we eventually managed to wrap our heads around the task and got some good results out of it. I quite like our translation of,

“Recognise opportunities for the development of your ideas in the practical output of your experimentation.”

Into,

“Use every chance to do something unique which furthers your creations.”

Once this nightmare workshop was behind us, we had a chance to discuss our projects with Adam one to one. He gave me some interesting links for further research and directed me to other projects which are similar in scope to what I’m proposing. My plan for next week is to consider his suggestions and begin to develop my preliminary ideas. I will likely begin with some brainstorms just to get my ideas down on paper. I will then attempt to do some fast prototyping. I will be mainly using Unity to create these prototypes, although I may make a mod of an existing game, depending on what ideas I come up with.

Week Six