Week 13 – Reflection

Student Name: Joshua Crowley

Student Number: n9719024

New Learning Approaches

Diving straight into the deep end of individual game development using Unity was a daunting task for me at first thought. I only dabbled here and there with the development software as well as Kodu Game lab from last semester, and thought to myself just how would I manage to create three games across this semester. I ended up finding that working in a studio helped me settle into the first few weeks, with my team mates being programmers themselves alleviated a bit of the stress. Asking them for pointers and tips certainly helped my progress, but I was still at a loss when I was tacking tasks on my own at home. Through the use of video and text tutorials online, as well as the prescribed videos for each cycle, it helped me step through the stages required to implement certain features. I’m relieved that I have been able to create three games, thought with varying success. To help assist me in future development cycles I may be involved in, I intend on persevering with self-teaching methods for programming.

Non-technical Skill Development

Over the course of the past 13 weeks, I have been able to reinvigorate my creative mind which I have been abandoning since childhood. Bouncing ideas off one another and iterating on concepts and themes has helped me shape my way of working through a design challenge. With each cycle, it became easier to communicate with one another as we tried to incorporate our ideas together where possible. This was helped by understanding how each person envisions the end project, rather than sticking to our own ideas, whereas during the first cycle we struggled to find a middle-ground where we all agreed. Additionally, with the blog activities we have been assigned, it helped me to understand other methods and ways of tacking the design process.

Strategies for Individual/Team Activities

Whilst I was struggling with certain aspects of the development process, contacting fellow team members or meeting up on campus definitely helped me progress further. Although what I lack in coding knowledge, I contributed in game mechanics and level layout suggestions. The majority of the workload, except for the blog entries, was done individually. In the future, I plan on creating more opportunities for in-person team meetings to see as to where everyone’s progress is, and allowing for time to help collaborate more with one another to ease the stress.

Ethical Responsibilities in a Team Based Environment

Within the context of a game studio, it is important to collaborate with one another and to help push each other to perform to their best through shared knowledge and team work. For the most part, our studio did well in terms of the creative and planning processes. But in terms of development, helping those who were lacking in particular aspects of programming would have been welcomed through regular team meetings.

Cycle 3 – Reflection

Student Name: Jack Hendy

Student Number: n9066845

At the start of this semester I knew nothing about development in Unity. The best source of information for this course was the four videos on the blackboard for each Cycle. These videos held incredible information about the development of game concepts that aren’t generally taught. Apart from them the internet was my most used tool figuring things out whenever I had a problem. My team wasn’t very useful for helping with problems in development. This subject has made me very eager to finish University and start developing my own games with my own ideas. Now that I have the skills I believe it will be very possible for me to create and publish my own indie games.

Non-technical skills I have developed over the semester is the ability to brainstorm and write. This subject has a large amount of writing activities and reports. It has been a struggle to put my ideas into words for the tutors and I hope that they will take that into consideration that my coding brain is not good at structuring reports well. Brainstorming was also a huge part of this subject. I enjoyed it but it felt too forced and sometimes unnecessary. I would have much preferred it if the main focus was on the development alone rather than split evenly between development and writing. But it has helped me with these skills that I otherwise do not use that often.

The best way that we managed the activities was to just evenly distribute the load, so that each person has done each task at least once. For me it is easier to work on something by myself rather than work with someone else especially on ideas that I predominantly came up with. It was easier for me to go ahead and develop the game so that when my team had questions about implementing mechanics I could easily show them because I had already done it. It was difficult working with them but it isn’t there fault it’s just that I find working alone easier. I realise though the pitfalls of this because the mechanics or ideas you might develop may not be fun to most people. Additionally, coming up with new ideas is easier if you have someone to bounce them off. However, for this subject it was easier enough to develop the game individually.

I believe we worked together as a fair team divvying up tasks evenly and helping each other when they ask for help. I believe we all worked very hard on our respective games and our group activities.

Reflection Cycle 2 – Joshua Crowley

Capture8

Video link: https://youtu.be/zOJpeFjX7ZY

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND PRACTICE 

In this second cycle of game development for IGB100, we were instructed to create a first person game based on a recent news topic or current affair. The conception stage in Week 5 required us to create various game ideas from various news topics, and we easily came up with at least 10 ideas amongst ourselves. As we have now familiarised ourselves with each other’s way of thinking from the previous cycle, I believe it was easier to then nail down what our final game idea and PX goals would be. My game design background allowed me to spur game ideas quickly, and was able to adapt and add various elements to other’s ideas. However, one bit of confusion amongst our team members was whether the game idea required actual shooting mechanics, or at the very least, a weapon of sorts. Our team member’s qualms were fixed when tutors clarified what was expected of us.

SKILL AND KNOWLEDGE

I was somewhat more confident in my C# programming skills compared to the previous cycle, after being exposed to terminology that was foreign to me prior to starting the unit. I started active development on this game relatively early in the cycle, as I was more interested in working in a 3D environment and could full realise my vision for the game. However, issues I encountered during the implementation stage included health, collider detection, and complex enemy behaviour. It was due to time constraints that I was not able to research as to how to accomplish these tasks. My game is actually playable with most game functions working as expected in comparison to my previous game, which drives me to strive harder in cycle 3.

WORKING IN A TEAM

Once again it was great to be working amongst a team who were proficient programmers, and were able to guide me in the right direction in terms of how to tackle programming tasks. Although one team member was absent for one week, we were able to catch up in person later on in the week and check on each others progress, with Jack helping me to get a portion of the game working as I originally expected. I expect that our games in this cycle are more cohesive due to the amount of communication between us that allowed us to be on the same page in terms of game play elements.

WORKING INDEPENDENTLY

The videos in this cycle helped me understand how various programming task functions more easily and how it is reflected in-game due to the 3D environment. I watched the 4 videos early on in the cycle so I could test various elements that could potentially make it into the final prototype submission, and allowed me to learn the necessary code to make my game function at my own pace. I believe once again that the initial scope was a bit too vast for the time given to complete this piece of assessment, in particular the game objects. I was only able to implement the cat as the primary enemy, and have basic UI that is necessary for the player to experience the game ideas as we originally intended. Sticking to primarily one or two sources of information allowed me to understand and implement new features within the code I have already written, a big reliever after being confused last cycle. In the next cycle, I hope to further hone my independent learning skills by acquiring information in person from tutors and peers, in addition to online sources.

ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS

In terms of a social issue, our game aims to address the issue of mobile phone addiction and hope it brings players to realise exactly what its like from a whimsical perspective. Potentially it could stop people from texting and driving or text and walking after how challenging it is to manage two tasks at once. After having already being exposed to the Unity development environment, I hope in the next cycle I will be able to focus on the game idea at hand, instead of tackling problems with the Unity UI and programming mishaps. My eagerness to develop games has grown whilst partaking in this unit, and will create a portfolio of projects with past, present, and future work for potential employers to peruse. The constraints I have worked within in the past two cycles gives me a rough idea of what can be accomplished in a short amount of time if I put my head to it.

Reflection Cycle 2 Jack Hendy

Student Number: n9066845

Student Name: Jack Hendy

Professional Development and Practice

Having worked with unity in the first four weeks my confidence in my ability to produce a game has increased and I felt this assignment was a good opportunity to demonstrate those abilities. It was very helpful that we were provided with the FPS controller object as well as it served as a perfect tester for the prototype of our game. Developing the game was simple once we had gone through the process before. The hard part was just doing the work. The activities were the same to the last cycle and did not vary in content at all. This was good as it was familiar work. This subject and cycle has helped me realise my ability and has given me more confidence in myself. I now know what I can do.

Working in a team

Working in a team again this cycle was not a problem as everyone knew what they needed to do. We divided up the tasks and brainstormed our game. Then we worked together tweaking the final product and sorting out mechanics. I believe we worked well given the requirements. I still feel like the teams are not necessary or at least not for every cycle. I understand though that if that were so then the students would have more work to do each week regarding the activities. However, maybe then the activities could be spread throughout the semester. It was interesting working with my team on this project and helping them out when they needed it.

Working Independently

I found the whole process very enjoyable especially completing the 4 tutorial videos on blackboard. The process of actually programming a small game did not actually feel like work it felt like I was creating something for myself. This mindset made me work harder and allowed me to focus more on the important aspects of the development process. Seeing your own project come to life was very satisfying. I believe I worked very effectively, incorporating each activity into the game and designing an interesting shooting mechanic. My prior knowledge of game design and C# programming were vital in me being motivated enough to complete the tasks. If I did not know these things I feel like I would have been crushed under the amount of work.

Ethical Considerations

The personal impact that this game will have on me is it will further flesh out my portfolio, giving another example of the work I am capable of. It will serve as a reminder of where I started and how far I’ve come. I will be posting the game on my own personal portfolio wordpress where it will also be available. I’m doing this to increase the size of my portfolio and give myself an idea of what I can do in a given amount of time. It will be useful for me in the future.

Reflection Cycle 1 – Joshua Crowley

Student number: n9719024

Student name: Joshua Crowley

Professional Development and Practice 

Throughout the course of the past 4 weeks, I was undertaking a shoot em’ up mini-game project for the IGB100 unit at QUT alongside both Jack and Phillip. We were to develop three varied games amongst ourselves, but as a studio, adhered to a set of PX goals and collaborated with one another to learn necessary skills in order to get our games to function how we intended. Having a background in game design, along with very basic C# and Python experience prior to starting this unit, it was somewhat intimidating to undertake such a task in the space of a 4 week period. Amongst our studio, we had two programmers (Jack and Phillip), as well as myself (a game designer). During the first two weeks of class, as a studio we discussed possible PX goals and ideas for our games. At first Jack and I had a different mindset in contrast to Phillip, where we envisioned various themes and gameplay mechanics that would interrelate to our newly formulated PX goals. I felt like at times I had to take charge of the situation where there was moments of disagreement for a long period of time during face to face meetings, where it was important to be as productive as possible in the short timeframe we had. The majority of the ideas that we all thought up did end up in the PX goals and our games in some aspect.

Skill and Knowledge

Looking back on the project, I wish I had undertook extensive research of the C# language which would have eased my frustrations in getting things to work as intended. Rectifying such a major issue in this particular unit in the second cycle is of utmost importance to me as many game developers utilise this language heavily in day to day work. Having worked in Unity previously during a program run by the Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE) in Sydney, I was somewhat familiar with the user interface that was presented to be, as I worked in a 2D environment prior to this project.

Working in a Team

I was grateful to be in a team that split the work evenly and worked together quite well, despite our game development backgrounds. In our face-to-face meetings, we managed to discuss the necessary material quite well in order for us to do our activity posts at home, as well as providing tips and feedback on each other’s games in order to make them better. On occasion, Jack and I met up to help me figure out my code which was a great help. I couldn’t imagine doing this project any other way as I would’ve lacked the self-confidence and drive to perform such a task independently. I found it a good experience to work in a team, and am starting to learn to adapt to various workflows I am not normally accustomed to, which would be helped by teams switching up each cycle perhaps.

Working Independently

I was quite challenged by the fact that we would have to produce a game each using a basic set of video tutorials and the vastness of the internet. I honestly didn’t know where to start once I finished the video tutorials, which in itself contained a plethora of new information about C# that I previously never learned before. I felt that a four week cycle was a bit too fast paced and wasn’t able to grasp the various coding concepts necessary to build a complete, functioning game as I originally envisioned. I felt that my initial scope was too broad, and as I started to struggle, I narrowed my vision down to two key game play elements. Whilst searching the internet for tips on how to incorporate such elements, I was unable to successfully incorporate many lines of code from various tutorials as they conflicted with one another. In the future cycles, I will stick to only one or two sources with large amounts of information and go from there.

Ethical Considerations

As my first foray into creating a proper shoot em’ up Unity powered mini-game, I felt that it opened my eyes as to just how much is involved in the creation process. I will use this newfound experience in creating games going forward, and will hopefully produce a higher fidelity project in the future.

 

Reflection Cycle 1 Jack Hendy

Student Number: n9066845

Student Name: Jack Hendy

This is my Reflection for Cycle 1 of IGB100, additionally to this post I started doing weekly reflections of the activities until I found that they were not mandatory. However, they are still part of my reflective thoughts.

Professional Development and Practice

I had never used unity before however I was very comfortable with the underlying programming language of c#. Whenever I faced a problem I would just have to try and understand how Unity treated different aspects of the program through some research or trial and error. The given tutorial was very informative and gave me a good sense of the scope of the required task. I believe my skills were above and beyond the requirements of the task in terms of the coding. The game design aspect was challenging for me to work in teams when developing ideas. I think I would have had less to worry about if the task was individual. However, having someone to talk with about ideas helps me understand how I can improve my own ideas. Additionally, this scrum development subject is very insightful as to how small groups can design build and prototype a game in a short time. It has made me even more excited to jump into making games a career.

Working in a team

My group included a wide variety of people and skills in certain areas. It was very interesting to work with this team as I have never had a team like this. I wonder if it would be a good idea for the subject to give us different teams each cycle. This would allow me to experience more people however the constant change may be difficult to cope with. I believe our team worked well and split the workload evenly throughout. We each took turns in completing the weekly activities and helped each other out when it was their turn to do a blog post. To keep it fair we completed the activities in a certain order so people didn’t feel like they were deliberately given a particularly hard task.

Working Independently

I found the whole process very enjoyable especially completing the 4 tutorial videos on blackboard. The process of actually programming a small game did not actually feel like work it felt like I was creating something for myself. This mindset made me work harder and allowed me to focus more on the important aspects of the development process. Seeing your own project come to life was very satisfying. I believe I worked very effectively, incorporating each activity into the game and designing an interesting shooting mechanic. My prior knowledge of game design and C# programming were vital in me being motivated enough to complete the tasks. If I did not know these things I feel like I would have been crushed under the amount of work.

Ethical Considerations

The personal impact that this game will have on me is it will give a baseline of my initial game development. It will serve as a reminder of where I started and how far I’ve come. I will be posting the game on my own personal portfolio wordpress where it will also be available. I’m doing this to increase the size of my portfolio and give myself an idea of what I can do in a given amount of time. It will be useful for me in the future.

Week 3 – Game Look and Feel

Moodboard

Research: That Dragon Cancer, Low Poly

Spatial dimensions: The game is set to be viewed from a top-down 2D perspective, with game objects and elements appearing in 3D to add a sense of depth. The game screen will be static, with the player confined within a set plays space. As the player progresses through the evolution process (levels), the play space will vary in size and position to reflect the current state of the player.

Style and Mood: Moodboard attached. Influenced by the polygonal art style of That Dragon Cancer, cool colour palette featuring blue and purple hues.

Period – Location: Inside the body of a fictional, mythical creature, who is in the middle of evolution.

Inhabitants: Bacteria, viruses, parasites.

Audio: Audio cues will play upon player’s shots hitting collectables or enemies, on top of ambient sounds that mimick sounds that the inner body would make.