Week Six

On Friday, we had a chance to catch up with Andy to discuss our projects with him. It was a good opportunity for me to talk about my project with someone who hasn’t heard anything about it yet. In the meeting, I went through my research with him and gave an overview of my ideas and what my aims are. I also talked about some of my early game ideas and he seemed to like them, so I’m hopeful that I’m onto something interesting. I also signed up for a workshop he is running on the 22nd November called Understanding Flocking, Crowds and Queues. The workshop will be run using JavaScript, so I think it will be a good opportunity for me to get an introduction to a new programming language. Before I attend I might also do a bit of my own research just to get up to speed. However, Andy seemed confident that I would be fine with the technical aspects which was nice to hear.

This week also saw yet another change to our Tuesday lectures. We will no longer be doing Unity fundamentals. Instead, James will be helping us on our projects individually. This same approach was taken in the latter stages of last year and I think it’s probably for the best. Sadly, I think it’s quite difficult to make a lecture series which caters for a broad range of skill. You either bore the people who already know it, or confuse the people who don’t. I think this new change to these lectures will be a permanent one and will most likely benefit everyone in the end. I think the only way to get better at anything is to practise. The two hours a week of coding we have is just not enough time.

During the lecture we were task with getting on with our current projects. I didn’t yet have a concrete idea for what my first game would be, so I chose to play around with movement mechanics instead. I essentially spent the entire lecture trying to remember the stuff I had forgotten over the summer break. Next time, I will probably use this lecture to develop my prototypes or start to create a side project. I quite like the idea of a side project because it could provide me with a nice change of pace from my main project this semester.

Speaking of my project, this week I began to prototype my first game idea, Faded. So far I have coded all of the fundamental mechanics, written a story and a music track for it. The only thing I have left to do is create the sprites and polish it up a bit. Next week, I’m planning to work on it for a few days, but then move on to the next prototype. I don’t want to spend too long on each because I might get bogged down by trying to make them perfect. Ideally, I would like to spend maybe a week for each. This way I should have at least three completed before the end of this semester, but hopefully more.

To document the development of my prototypes I’m creating developer commentary and time-lapse videos. I’ve found that making the commentary videos is especially useful for me. They give me a break from the development and a chance to reflect on the project and where I’m going with it. I think they offer a good insight into my ideas and how they develop from paper to code. I’m planning to make these videos for each of my games, hopefully they will continue to help me reflect on my progression.

Next week is reading week, my plan is to go home for a few days and return on Wednesday or Thursday. When I get back, I’m going to finish developing Faded and then move onto my next game. I will also attempt to contact some homeless charities to gauge their interest in my project. Andy suggested that if I can get the support of a homeless charity, the university might also be willing to help in some way. Time will tell what form, if any,  this support will take. I think I would be happy enough if I managed to have a link to a donations page or something similar. Anything would be appreciated.

Week Seven (Reading Week)