Week Four

Thankfully, I was feeling much better this week than I did last week which meant that I could focus on my work much more easily. Even though I managed to continue working last week and I made a lot of progress, it was slow going and I found everything to be slightly more effort than it should have been. Luckily, I felt myself again for most of this week and I could concentrate much more easily.

With my health restored, I was able to complete the first draft of one of my essays. I chose to write about game preservation and how it relates to the multiplayer modes of older games and MMOs. I still need do a lot of editing on the essay, but I’m happy that I have the bulk of the work completed. I have yet to start on the longer 2500-word essay, but I have a subject that I’m interested in writing about which is solo game development. I’m eager to complete both essays with time to spare so that I can focus on my Final Major Project completely and not be preoccupied by them. I’ve tried not to view these essays as distractions, so I’m making sure that I set enough time aside so that I can devote the right amount of time to each. With this in mind, I want to make a start on the longer essay next week with a view to finishing both the week after. That will give me another week until the deadline in which to edit both and get them finished.

Aside from essay writing, I also started designing Denizen’s companion characters. I created many iterations based on a simple core idea – that the space between the companion’s legs should be shaped like a house. My designs were informed by this idea and the entire process felt natural and easy. Next week I want to start designing the player character and I’m hoping that the process will be similar. To help evaluate the different features of my companion designs, I frequently created in-game versions to test. I think this really helped to give context to the overall design and allowed me to make informed decisions as to what I wanted. This testing allowed me to develop the player’s companion design much more confidently and I think it’s a process which I will take forward when I’m designing the player character next week.

On Friday, I had a chance to talk with Adam about my project. We discussed my current progress and he stressed that I should be thinking about designing the game’s puzzles sooner rather than later. He was concerned that I might be leaving the most important aspects of my game design to the very last minute. I think the puzzles are big aspect of the game, so when I have designed the player character and coded some basic movement and interaction between the player and companion, I can then think about puzzle design. I already have a few ideas for the early game puzzles, but each will have two solutions, an easy solution, which the companion can help you with and a harder solution, which can be solve without the companion. I may find it quite challenging to design puzzles with an easy and hard solution, so depending on how difficult this becomes the nature of the puzzle design may change. First however, I need to get the player and companion design and code done so that I understand how they will interact with each other before I design my puzzles.

I also recorded a podcast with Adam on Friday about Denizen. I had never been on a podcast before and I don’t think many in the class had done either, so it was a learning experience for everyone. It was about 20 minutes long wherein we discussed the origins of the game and a bit about my research. I didn’t know what the questions would be beforehand, but I think I answered them OK and didn’t sound as clueless as I actually am, so I think that’s good:

Next week, my plan is to start designing my player character and make a start on my longer essay about solo game development. I think a lot of my time will be spent doing research for the essay, so hopefully I will be able to complete the player design as well.

Week Five