Week Five

My goal this week was to complete the first draft of my longer essay, which I didn’t quite managed to achieve. I’ve written about 1600 words so far and have the essay structure planned out, so I know where I’m heading. I have around 900 words left so I’m hopeful that I will be able to complete the draft on Monday, this will then give me the entire week to work on my player design. I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to complete this by the end of next week which will then allow me to start coding the companion and player interactions. I think I struggled with the essay because I didn’t appreciate how long it takes for me to write in a more academic style. Writing these reflective summaries doesn’t take that long, as I’m able to just write down my thoughts and reflections quite quickly. However, writing an essay requires a lot more effort for me and I find it tiring compared to other forms of writing.

Despite not managing to complete the draft for my essay this week, I did manage to do tons of research on my subject. This led me to find some advice from other developers on how they stay motivated and self-evaluate when working on their own. Because of this I’m now planning to record the amount of time it takes for me to do specific tasks and how many hours I am working in general. I usually just do this in my head and I think I have a good sense of what takes more time than other tasks, but my essay work this week has taught me that I can still sometimes over-estimate how quickly I will be able to complete a given task. My research has also narrowed down the subject of my essay which has now evolved into the emotional impact of solo game development. The research on this subject has really helped me to appreciate how to self-evaluate much better, and has provided me with some ways in which I can stop feeling like I’m not working hard enough. I have found that working on my own tends to make me feel pessimistic about my work and I find it very hard to self-evaluate. To help with this, I want to keep track of the hours I am working which will then give me a concrete number for the effort I am putting in. The timing of specific tasks will also allow me to manage my time much better in the future, although I did try to do this during previous projects, but for whatever reason that didn’t last. However, I’m hopeful that I will be able to keep timing my work for the remainder of this project. I may also include some of these statistics in my reflective summaries.

Even though most of my time was spent researching and writing the essay, I also managed to do a bit of coding in Tuesday’s lecture. I wanted to start scripting the basics of the companion commands, these will allow the player to control their companion more directly. I decided to first focus on the companion’s movement. They are designed to follow the player character around the level and the player is also able to call the companion to a specific point. The follow command was quite simple, but I went through a few iterations before it felt quite right. I was struggling to make it feel natural, it’s easy to make one object follow another in Unity, but it’s another thing to make it feel like the object has weight and momentum. I still consider the code to be placeholder, but it allowed me to appreciate what I might be in for when I code the full mechanic later. I also began coding the call mechanic which allows the player to move the companion to their location, but only managed to make a very simple and crude version, so hopefully I’ll be able to iterate on this fully after next week and make something better.

My plan for next week is to complete the draft of my essay on Monday and spend the remaining week working on my player design. If I manage to finish my designs with time to spare I may also begin coding the player movement and companion interactions.

By the way, writing this reflective summary took around 54 mins. I wish I wrote quicker.

Week Six