The Final Straw

Another week has flown by and this time a rather great one aside from an initially appalling Wednesday.

The beginning of week 11, would you believe it, starts with a drop-in session of Define Games to check how our work progress is. Unfortunately I went two steps forward and five steps back when we were told that the games design document we create for coursework must both be an original ip and singleplayer. Booting both my current plans out of the door. At least there are a couple of ideas which do come to mind but nothing as thrilling and appealing as both of these.

At least five of us reserved a house that very same day. It was a wonderful experience as we got the house sorted in one fell swoop. We went through “Bernards” the Estate Agent. Despite warnings of using letting agents, and an estate agent thankfully not being exactly a letting agent, we decided to take the leap simply for convenience. So instead of arguments on location and issues in stress and panic we simply met up and sorted it in a four day chunk.

We also managed to get some art-work done with more of Sir Daniel Fortesque in his modern form being created, this should be up in my portfolio next year.

Another exciting part of the day was… I took a singing lesson. Sure it was for free but I had planned it and worked on it. Initial worry went as his voice, having never had an official lesson, genuinely improved and not only that but quite significantly. This experience kept me high for Tuesday and gave me the motivation to make two more singing lessons for this coming week. The day ended with a lot of brilliant chatting and conversation and a plan for this coming weeks “coding week” as I’ve called it… Oh the joys.

Tuesday got off to a strange start as it was mighty hard to get out of bed. At least the building works outside provided incentive as the drilling vibrated continuously through-out the morning. Lots was to be done today but at least it would all be good. First off there was the lecture on 3D modelling which involved lots of kittens on the powerpoint due to the intermediary high-intensity mathematics work. Luckily this was not all necessary for the later exam but worth recognising when going into the industry. The German lecture in the evening was good as well, the course had some nice feedback from us students which pleased the lecturer. What was most exciting about Tuesday was the LAMDA lesson. Which set me off with a dozen play-scripts to sift through and decide which ones should be learnt for the exams at the end. Who you know not and not what you know is what they say and it is most true! As a lovely friend from a previous show is a LAMDA instructor and put me straight through to Grade 8, who’d have thunk.

So having not collated notes for the rest of the week this will all be off the back of my head! I haven’t had to use that in a while…!?

Wednesday went off to an appalling start as referenced above. I woke early, after an incredibly late night, at least for me, being two o clock in the morning. This early rise was intended for an Enterprise lecture which I was anticipating all week. Yet from the moment of rising I found my clothes to still be wet despite being hung up and tumble-dried. This drove me absolutely nuts, a feeling I haven’t felt in a while. Frustration boiled to anger. After a few hurried and angry text conversations, which never help, I went to meet my Dad. That was positive and led to the buying of a new North Face coat. So that was good. What was more interesting however is the fact that he’d be off to Syria that evening and into Aleppo after only 24 hours notice of being invited. Always a strange experience to know this but I knew he’d be alright. My first proper sing with the University Choir was lovely but then when arriving at boxing all prepared, early and ready to eat my lunch I found I lacked my wallet… This made me run back to the flat and retrieve some cash for the lesson. On return there was neither time to be prepared or to eat the previously prepared food due to having missed all boxing sessions due to eating. So I furiously ate my sandwiches and headed on up to, thankfully, a good Boxing session. Afterwards it was necessary to chill out.

Thursday began with the usual Image Creation session, and again I forgot something and had to run back for some images which I had printed for the lecture. At least the lesson went well enough with some more drawing of Sir Dan. He needs to be finished soon but unfortunately I’m not finding enough time to put too much work into him. After the lecture it was time to drive to a good friend with whom I’d worked on the music video. We had a good lengthy chat and a cup of tea which was much needed. The day ended with a fireworks display at Goodwood after a year wrap-up party with the other Goodwood Actors. It was a rather pleasant and yet constant day.

Friday continued that endless trend as it began with a 9-12 lecture on being a Graduate in the Games Industry. It was extremely interesting and actually really fired me up for being involved as a Games Producer later down the line. The role suited me very well and so perhaps that’ll be the direction in which is taken?

After this lecture we did find out that our presentations, 10% of our Tech Demo mark, was due on Monday 12th at 13:30. A lot of gulps later a lot of work got done and so over the week myself and a team member cracked down on the presentation and are now feeling comfortable with it.

It then was time to fetch my new glasses from Petersfield which look much better, but it does come with a rather hefty price. A trip back to home in the meantime led to an evening meal of Pizza before trundling off to a friend’s party. For a Computer Games Technology student it was strange to not have turned on a computer in 2 and 1/2 days! The friend’s party was great fun and helped me find White Sambuca which is the drink I’d been looking out for after 2 years ago tasting it in Greece and not being able to get the name of it.

I don’t usually indulge in Saturday/Sunday but it is highly course related. Saturday involved a trip to Portchester Castle, as explained in a new section inside “BSc Computer Games Technology” on this website titled: “3D Modelling Artefact Research”. It’ll be about the artefact creation, which should be fun. After that I did 5 hours straight work on the presentation. This was an amazing feat for me and I am indeed mighty pleased with it.

Sunday involved more consistent work on the presentation with a Tech Demo partner who’ll also be reading through sections of it. So now we are all set for tomorrow.

Wish us luck and you’ll find out what’s happened next week!

Evapparating Memories

The University staff seem to be insisting it is half-way through the year. This is somewhat mind-boggling but I suppose the year does end a lot earlier than the typical school ones. Either way I am admittedly writing this from the Wednesday after. I’ll be honest. The blog went out of my head. It has been a funny week and a half. Extremely interesting and yet I feel as whipped up as an apparating wizard.

So Monday last week… Monday last week… Good lord… Hmmm! AHA alright:

This was a Define Games lecture which seemed to annoy a surprising amount of people as it was simply a group activity where we made a game idea and listened to other people’s. In all honesty it wasn’t that engaging but I didn’t have as much criticism for it as the others, it may lead to something and gets us interacting and discussing at least that little bit more. Adventure Games have been the focus of the last few basically involving Point and Click games and action adventure such as tomb raider. A genre that hasn’t really ever quite clicked with me (no pun intended) but one that is indeed worthy of recognition. Monday was a shorter day than usual due to a lie-in, would you believe it?

I’ve written in the notebook that I did boxing in the evening… well that’s a load of rubbish because it didn’t happen due to making food. This is a story for the week, how I tried to continually go to events and the like but was held back simply by the human need to eat. Of course this is a battle everyone must eventually face and it seems the time for evening sandwiches has begun! Instead of going boxing at least I re-met with a good friend from the course and we had a good evening of tea and relaxation. Monday was also the day that I remembered a game-idea for which the design document is now made and the potential for a development process begins. It’ll be slow due to learning the engines and also busy with the course but perhaps you’ll get to see something eventually.

Tuesday was fantastic. I cannot believe it was last week that all this happened, feels like months ago… Anyway it was the day we did Motion Capture and what a delight it was. Lots of pictures and videos, which mind you most they still haven’t sent me, much to my disappointment. Straight after this I attended my first Computer Games Enterprise Lecture, which will be the new course on which we embark next year, so we’ll have to do a website make-over to match! The Enterprise lecture was fantastic and engrossing meanwhile teaching so much. Either way I am glad that technology is what was done this year as it allowed us to engage in the Technical Game Demo unit which has us engaging in the process of making a game. The lesson discussed the many legal processes and problems like patents, confidential material, ip, trademark, copyright. Suggesting that it is almost compulsory to have a lawyer and an accountant to go over the final touches before proceeding. It also discussed finance systems and potentials in how to fund a game. We also saw some year 3 presentations which allowed me to gauge what a good game presentation needs to be even for a year 3 standpoint. It was certainly achievable!

Wednesday began with another Enterprise lecture in the early morning at 9:00. To which everyone was surprised at seeing someone with it as a non-compulsory course turn up… Another informative lecture depicting facial expression and how to read individuals in business scenarios. Coding workshop I went to but didn’t stay long as it just went over my head when I was so far behind anyway. 12-18th is my coding week now. Booked and everything. Today was also the day in which the German assessment was finally handed in, still not too pleased about that to be honest.

Something incredibly exciting happened this day though.

Jagex – developers of Runescape – visited. They did a fantastic talk on the industry and what they do. It was more of a hiring lecture about themselves as an employer but nonetheless fascinating. In the lecture were recognisable faces including Martin Severn who worked as Lead Artist for Crytek on Ryse (Which even he thought was a bad game overall) and most importantly Crysis 2, a massive favourite of mine. With him I had a rather wonderful conversation about the amazing game that was Crysis 2. Not only did they give the talk but they set up a VR room which was a great chance to enter the Rift once again and my lord had it improved. Virtual Reality is mind-blowing technology and it seems most high-end developers believe it to be the future that just hasn’t quite transitioned yet. It is like the movement from 2D to 3D, slow but important. Jagex itself was an interesting company explaining how they have 187 individual job roles within the company. They also gave incentive to artists to study technology as the role of ‘Tech Artist’ is much needed in the industry and anyone working into it is likely to be hired immediately as it involves simplifying and constructing the tools that artists use to create artwork in games therefore allowing work to be done quicker and more efficiently.

Thursday I missed the lecture simply because I didn’t feel too well but it did give me a chance to finish the incredible TV series “Stranger Things” which I would highly recommend. Not quite in the same directorial band as Black Mirror but in that category of engagement. It was also a day for fixing up my LinkedIn profile to a higher standard which is finally done now:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/peter-ashdown

It was a strange day because despite the feel good week so far panic set in. Money worries is the only thing I could put it down to. Suddenly a job became a priority and it set in panic. I submitted a CV into Game and can only pray they may eventually get back to me on it but who knows. At least another LOTR Tales video was completed again, I missed reading them. The reception we get for them is wonderful.

Friday started with our lecturer having norovirus and therefore missing a lecture but instead the third years who were visiting decided to take control and present their presentations anyway which were good. They showed the problems and benefits of game design, planning and working in teams. It was also the day of the CV hand-in which required printing. This was amusing, but meanwhile frustrating, as it sent me on a wild-goose chase for a printer.

Friday also involved five of us agreeing to go jiving sometime soon together, finally, and also planning renting a house. Amazingly we banded together and one of us organised a house viewing and we were blessed with us falling in love with the first house we saw among a few and simply deciding it was worth it, knowing how similar other houses in Portsmouth looked. This means we have reserved the house already. No more house worries, just payments to do now. 3D modelling on this day was also interesting as it was the end of the handholding workshops but in all honesty I really enjoyed it and anticipate working on it more, especially going to Portchester castle and preparing for the unit hand-in.

Anyway I am feeling I have over-stayed my welcome. Also with the amount of “I”, “my” and “me” in this blog it seems fairly bloated. It bothersĀ me quite a lot when most people write with so many self-references and yet hereĀ I am with a boatload. Laziness perhaps? Well, only time will tell!

Time that you can, with this blog, follow!