Friday, 20 May 2011

The End is Nigh

For this semester, at least. Just one week left for most of my units. I have another few weeks to go before my exam for programming, but I'll kick back and relax a little before that anyway. Definitely won't stop me from staying up all night 7-9 June to watch E3.

My new head of course briefly went over the second semester units for our course today, and thankfully a game design unit is now available. The course handbook doesn't say it has anything to do with game design, but he made it sound like games were a pretty big part of it so I quickly enrolled anyway to secure myself a spot. If it turns out he's lying to us I can always pull out during the first week, I suppose.

Since this elective is being done in place of 3D, I'll get to do programming again next semester which is pretty cool. The game design unit itself doesn't sound all too different from what I've been doing in my spare time (or from that project I posted about from last semester), and the course coordinator never got back to me on whether group projects were allowed for it. I'm happy the unit exists, but I still think it's probably a good idea to take initiative and start up a study group-type thing.

What the unit consists of? From what I hear, the first half of semester consists of bringing (one of) our favourite game(s) to class to show off to everyone else, then deconstruct why they're so good to the rest of the class. The other guys in my class immediately fired off, saying stuff like "if anyone brings in COD I will hit them" and while I'm no huge fanboy of the Modern Warfare franchise I found it fun to argue back that it was actually well designed. They might not like the game (or at least the majority of the audience who plays it), but you cannot argue that the game would be nearly as popular as it is if it was poorly designed. But I digress.

I didn't even touch this game until last year, actually! It's kinda great. Multiplayer is good, but I've only played it at a couple of LAN parties with friends - online multiplayer would probably only reduce my appreciation for the game.

A pretty-freaking-huge list of my favourite games can be found here. While I'll admit that a few of the top entries are only really there because of nostalgia, I have a fair few options of games I can take in to show off and talk about. I'm leaning towards Metroid Prime at this stage, but I would be happy to talk about
I'll probably end up deconstructing the design of some of these games on this very blog anyway. But I'd like to choose one of these which has (a) impacted me in a pretty big way and (b) isn't likely to be chosen by other people in my class. Metroid Prime seemed suitable for this since it's a pretty old game compared to the rest (almost ten years now) and was developed for the Gamecube - a console I doubt a lot of students would have even touched. There's a bit more I can pick apart in its design than some of the other games, but it's actually really surprising how well it holds up. I'll write up a full blog on that later, though.

Model detail might be a bit rough now, but I think I can still say this game is gorgeous in 2011.

I'm not too sure whether we're only going to be bringing in one game each, but it would be nice to be able to look at those last three entries on the list too (plus Portal). Mainly because I'm looking to hopefully kickstart a career with an independent project, so deconstructing indie games might be more beneficial to me. But I guess that's what this blog is for.

Between now and the start of next semester though, I'm hoping to do a few things in terms of extracurricular study...

There's a conference for Perth game developers going on next Friday which I'll probably attend -- I'm not sure about the standard of games from Perth, but it'll be good to network with a few people at least, particularly programmers.

My university doesn't have an advanced unit for 3D and the intermediate unit is coming to a close, so I'll need to develop those skills in my spare time. While I want to be a game designer or director, getting to that is quite tough without getting your foot in the door first. I think the advice  I read from a lot of developers was to pick a side - programming or art - then develop your skills and specialise. I enjoy taking my programming units for a more well-rounded knowledge, but I'll probably end up specialising in the 3D art side of things anyway.

In terms of game design, I'll try and make it my goal to write up a concept for a game per day or so, or at least do some further research into current niches of the industry. I'm not sure if I'll post this work up unless something comes out of it -- while I'm not really scared of anyone stealing my ideas, I'm not sure whether there's anything beneficial to myself or others by posting blogs about ideas themselves unless they've been developed in some way.

I also want to play around a bit with Unity (since it's being used at Uni next semester) and UDK as well as Flash and some engines for smaller games over this break. Will probably look at some tutorials and import my Maya scenes just to see how everything works and to familiarise myself with the programs. I think a large problem of mine so far has been the fact that I am intimidated by totally new software, but the only way to fix that is to get out, start reading stuff and start messing around instead of sitting around worrying about how I can never get stuff to work.

I think I'll leave things there for now, though. This blog has gotten pretty long without saying anything of too much importance to others... it's just another one of those wordy, bloggy-blogs. But I felt like updating on how things are going and where I'm headed with my studies anyway. Cheers for reading!

1 comment:

  1. Looking forward to U3 to, to see what the big companies have install for us.

    The whole COD hater thing revolves around the audience, if u have ever played multiplayer online its full of tards, however the story line in COD4 I enjoyed :)

    Hope to get together and form a study group if u want to work through some tuts for next semester... found a great one that covers like everything :)


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