One month in and I’ll be honest. I missed my first lectures this week. Two of them in fact, and on the same day. Thankfully, according to the many supportive individuals all studying in the course, nothing too much was missed; nothing that couldn’t be salvaged from a quick trip to Portsmouth’s own Virtual Learning Environment “Moodle” for the powerpoint. So Monday’s first lecture was actually one ePortfolio one simply saying what’s already been said meanwhile the later one was about Analysis vs Reviewing games. Once again the text speaks for itself but of course it is necessary to know. The difference between Analysis and Review is one is a subjective look at the art while the other is a critical objective approach. Which being which is self-explanatory. The first reason for missing lecture was a lack of timetable reading skills, perhaps a powerpoint would be useful to explain the components needed to improve on this, and the other was an incredibly in-depth and meaningful philosophical conversation with a flatmate and admittedly I wouldn’t trade those for the world.
Monday did hold perhaps one thing video-game related. Year Walk is an interactive exploration of Swedish folklore that… little did I know… was a horror game. Here Avastrat goes on a jolly walk through the wood, approaches the well-drawn form of a mildly haunting singing women. You’re tasked with following her into this hollowed out tree to then solve a puzzle which could have simply been solved through luck. Then finally you draw near to her and… Her face contorts and lurches forward with an ear-rending scream. This somewhat put me into a cold sweat for the rest of the playthrough but braving on I continued for as long as I could until completing it later that evening. To all those curious to see this panic it is available on YouTube:
Tuesday was far more “Productive” with another free day! This time however our Game Tech Demo group had an excellent meeting which put our confidence up. Game Design documents will now be our project for next week including an asset list to understand what steps need to be taken. Another incredibly important point is that I was lent “The Last of Us” which is considered by many to be the game of the decade (Though that’s certainly a large statement) but almost universally accepted as the game of 2013. Having not known the hype and been in the dark on this game for 3 years I’ve finally gotten my hands on it and… It’s most definitely good. More than that I have yet to say having played only about 4-6 hours in which clunky controls and stupid deaths have gotten in the way of an otherwise immersive game. My best description is an interactive and amazing series of The Walking Dead, that’s a compliment!
Wednesday was interesting with another coding workshop which re-inspired the logical side with an interesting array of ‘And’, ‘If’ and ‘Else’ statements which decide what happens if certain variables are met. Completing this and yet not having completed Week 3’s workshop it would be until Friday that Week 3 was finally completed. After another mini-meeting for the group with three of us doing some concept art inspired by iRobot, Ex Machina, Star Wars and Portal. Conor had some exceptional designs which we’re all mighty excited to see implemented. After was an optional talk on the post-production team called “Envy” who use the industry-standard Avid to work on TV shows like “The Voice” to produce the final product. It was incredibly interesting and humbling to hear that the poor guy gets 140 CVs a week applying for jobs. So he was basically saying keep it to a paragraph or two and then present the cv while also personalising it to Envy, the company like to feel special like any other. This Avid talk was all new to me so it was good to get a little insight to the Television side of the industry. In Envy everyone starts as a runner, simply doing the teas and coffees, but progress can come at anywhere from 3 weeks to 6 months depending on your adeptness at the software etc. After this I attended part of a weekly life drawing session where I was greeted with this stark naked man on a stool. Once the initial shock had worn down it was time to prepare the tools and draw. Unfortunately too much had been done this day and with the mind jellified I left thinking the student rep meeting was at 4 not 5. Thankfully this gave a much needed break involving rice pudding and more “The Last of Us”.
Finally the Student Representative meeting was good fun but still not particularly informative as to what specifically we do either way people seemed to like the idea of fortnightly course lunches implemented. So that’s the first goal, based on what happened on that first day last month.
Thursday involved another drawing session and this one came to great success, artwork may eventually be presented on this website and I will endeavour to warn you when this is the case! Either way it helped to reinvigorate me while also showing that charcoal is a utensil I felt drawing, perhaps because it avoids the fear of having to use colour in images… All this excitement and the fact that there was an interesting talk moments after packing up led me to leaving the art folder in the room and wandering down in deep conversation. Typical. It was indeed a great conversation which also made me late for study support to help with Week 3’s coding. Maybe I’m being too honest on this blog, but as Henry in “The Picture of Dorian Gray” says: “One should never do anything that one cannot talk about after dinner”. If there’s a life lesson to learn from that novel it should most definitely be this. Thankfully the support, which admittedly I thought was in groups and turned out to be 1 to 1 (a good sign for all those who wish for it), was still there and so structures in coding were explained enough for me to finish it the next day. Thursday night involved a much needed chill out session with close friends eating pancakes and later playing Halo and trying Gears of War for the first time, not my cup of tea but I do like the taste of Earl Grey and Fennel Tea so I’m a bit weird anyway.
Friday was another chatty day for this rather chatty guy. Reading back over the blog presents the life lesson “Talk less”. Yet Henry from Doria… Nevermind. Except such talking has led to some new individuals being introduced into these exciting times. From freerunners to friendly freshers; everyone was interesting and I await more great days getting to know these people! With an evening booked to get me having a couple of drinks, which thankfully didn’t happen, we had a great night anyway involving 3 contrasting games of Pool. Perhaps luckily this blogger typically only likes the more expensive stuff and even then doesn’t find them satisfying enough to guzzle down one after the other so instead will happily break into some Port and Cheese on a Sunday evening, I did warn you I’m weird. The first game of Pool involved losing disastrously meanwhile the second being a tense match with the winning move being a beautiful shot placing the black ball into the hole… followed by the white. Having not played in a long time this meant that this rule was long forgotten so after a quick victory dance I was told we lost. The final game however was a resurgence that could only be dreamed of with some incredible shots from both teams but my friend and I’s assured victory…
Hang on. This is a blog about Computer Games Technology not Tabletop Game Stories!
Perhaps a slightly less productive week but one that ims the beginning of a balancing act which shall come through practice. After that disappointing session of MMA a couple of weeks ago there is still one thing I remember. The teacher scrapped the idea of Practice makes perfect because if you practice badly then you wont be perfect, you’ll be bad. So instead told us that Practice makes Permanent. If you practice perfect then you will be permanently perfect. Maybe this week was bad practice but it is a step in the right direction for University life, unless of course you readers would highly object to this statement. Let us learn from the mistakes and also the benefits of all this talking to find that perfect practice for us to make permanent.