Let Them Come

Three weeks in and now having to write for week two. With the culmination of events leading to this point time has swept away both extraordinarily quickly and yet dutifully slowly. When reflecting on the days the calendar has moved apace but thinking on the present moment the hours gently drift. Having been one mostly in command of the time following the motto: “You don’t have time, you make time”; University even surprised myself. Supposing you do sign up to all those unions and actually attend them then you really will be busy. Though not everyone signs up to Jiu Jitsu, Tabletop RPGs, LARP, Boxing, Rowing, Climbing and fits in a Radio show on the side; At least know that Computer Games Technology has had noticeably fuller weeks than more traditional courses.

So let’s jump right into the beginning of week 2:

The lecturer that last week took us to the pub had given me the chance to attend a third year lecture further clocking up contacts and understanding of the next four years. This opportunity was nigh and so off went a first year to his lecture without battery on his phone. With much flurry at realising the lecture hall number was nestled within an email I embarked onto some stranger’s phone to log in and retrieve details. On entering I was ushered into a seat and so began an excellently led and highly amusing talk on the third year compulsory project.

It was magnificent.

It confirms that by that point we actually will know what we are doing and that we will be capable of working in the industry. A variety of choices were displayed all of which asked for by professional clients. Working products must be completed to the necessary degree for military, medical or social purposes. A VR historical theatre; A VR Aircraft Carrier simulation to train certain tasks; testing a new Military engine designed to outmatch ARMA’s current engine; An Augmented Reality Mary Rose game for the local exhibition; and Audazzle a company that intends to have games made for the deaf or hard-of-hearing. All sounded wonderfully challenging but most importantly possible.

With much fervor, though interspersed with personal and emotional developments typical of both the age and the settling in, the next few days were embarked upon.

Coding started well. Taught from the ground up and at a snail’s pace the first few weeks, much to the dismay of coders with previous experience, the fundamentals were ingrained immediately. The IDE (Integrated Software Development Environment) we are using is Visual Studio 13 which can be, as a student, downloaded onto your home computer to practice with. It is nice enough to use especially with the basics but perhaps those with more experience would prefer something else. As this is not my expertise I shall refrain from commenting further.
We were given hints and tips in reference to games and what coding needs to do for instance providing output – what you give to the player for interacting. This is fundamental to video games and it is also the coders job to put it into practice. Much to my luck and not to many others we must also begin a coding blog to post online updating the lecturers of our work.

The next unit that was begin this week was “Image Creation”. This was a joy to participate in but did come with mixed reception. We are to do life-drawing.
Concept Art is important in video-games; it is known within the industry that programmers and artists must work together more often than they would like therefore even the programmers must be taught some form of drawing and artwork. Personally it was delightful. Having always wished to learn to draw but without the patience to play around with brushes and strokes it was a chance to fulfill a dream. We even had a model who performed poses which we must use various taught techniques to reproduce on paper. According to the others he even removes his shirt, being a wrestler this was gratefully received by many in the group. I have yet to experience this aspect but considering others have been taught different techniques it should come soon and when it does, you will know.

Finally on the Friday we were set the task of creating a game demo. This seemed a little vague but with some digging we revealed that the demo must be the “minimum viable product”. The lecture was more about the assembling of the group we’d be placed into. Yes: Placed into. We had no choice. For many this has turned out well but of course some will be less pleased. Admittedly I am more than pleased with my group. We seem to gel well and get the job done. We’re all excited to begin the concept that has been proposed by the group and so onward we must march. With full access to University Facilities and supported by industry professionals this project is most definitely plausible.

There we are. A weeks worth of lecturers, seminars and workshops. This course continues to shape well and there are still more units to begin. Let them come!

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