Two weeks later

(Sorry about lack of post, last two weeks have been a mad rush to get work finished off. Lots of coding, little sleep and a week of eating the same, reheated food has left me ready for the upcoming term. Also lots of post ideas coming soon)

So the plan didn’t run exactly well to say the least. I ended up having tons left to do in my first two weeks back.

However, short updates:

  1. First term appears to have gone well – good peer reviews and 1-to-1 with my tutors. Game has been well received.
  2. Decent grade on my AI product. Now just need to wait and see how the others went
  3. Came back to a Ubisoft Graduate Program invite which was open to Abertay. Currently filling the details for it and should be the first of the applications I fill in. Also looking at another set of programmer jobs open all over the UK
  4. Ready to get back to work at Abertay tomorrow!

What all this stuff means is that I am now back into full time working mode. And, with it being the season of start your job applications, I need to at the same time be improving my  portfolio with work outside of University. I’ve come up with the idea of doing a few small prototypes that illustrate concepts that could be used in a game as well as creating at least one small mobile game I can ship to fufil the requirements a few companies have.

So total project list for January until May:

  1.  Games Development Project (Group project in either UDK or Phyre Engine)
  2. Innovation Project (Third person movement on a touch screen device)
  3. Games Programming (Advanced DirectX 11)
  4. Network Programming
  5. Narrative Theory and Design (Not quite sure what this is yet but I think its a portfolio of work assembled at the end of term)
  6. Finished Mobile game published and on App store – Probably going to finish off a version of Firebase Fables, probably without art assets.
  7. Game Concept Prototypes – these are a set of tests designed to look at ideas for a realistic cover based shooter. The idea is to combine that popular genre with new and interesting ideas to increase the realism
    • Location Based Damage System – hit to specific areas will affect the wounded player in different ways
    • Realistic Cover System and Blind firing – stop players from being able to peer over cover tops while safe, making blind fire more useful
    • Aiming with sights without breaking third person – how to implement optics and sighting options without breaking third person.

Lots to do but should all be beneficial. And I’ve got just around 5 months to do it all in!  The aim is to do more often updates to here about the projects as they develop.

 

Out with the Old, in with the New

Colourful 2014 in fiery sparklers

So the new year has been rung in and as you read this I have celebrated my new year in great fashion – first up in Middlesbrough with drinks, photos and more (i tried out my new phone’s features and made this monstrosity https://share.htc.com/ppEl4JpIA) and then on New Year’s Day with an afternoon of tabletop games (X Wing and 40K Killteam) with my good friend Peeb (again more HTC montages https://share.htc.com/csWYreBoA).

This Christmas has been a combination of a good few relaxing days and mad sprints of work. I’ve still got a fair chunk of work to do before hand ins so next week is going to be a little crazy. But, its been nice to go home for a bit.

2013 has been a great year – I finished my undergrad and graduated from Teesside, started at Abertay, made a ton airsoft videos, had a great time going to all these airsoft events, met tons of people, played tons of games, made several projects I’m really proud of (WAM and Undercurrent come to mind) and had a good time.

2014 is going to be even more exciting – this will hopefully be the year I finish at Abertay and get a proper job rather than just a summer one. This will be a year where I will need to go pedal to the metal to do the best I can.

At the same time though, I do need to have some fun now and then. One thing I want to do is get back into making, painting and playing miniature war-games. The afternoon spent playing Kill Team has reinvigorated my love for it and I would by May to be able to go back to York and play using a fully painted kill team. I already have enough models for a Black Templars focused marine list and my Guard list I played seemed to work reasonably well (apart from a few duff dice rolls). Both of these need painting (and a few repairs) with one or two models already in a scheme I like. At the same time, my assembled Flames of War Brits need painting – I’ve assembled a 2065 pt list with a few spare models. So this year I will take models and paints back to Dundee and rather than spending all my time on the PC I’ll aim to spend a few hours a week painting – hopefully it will give me a productive break.

The second is a spare time code project. I’ve been chatting to a few friends about their common issues with third person cover based shooter. Already looking at third person games as part of my innovation project, I’ve started investing time in looking at other parts of the tactical third person shooter equation, starting with a realistic damage system. Ideally, these will form a set of demos that can go on my portfolio to show off some gameplay programming. If and when they are all working, I’d like to tie them into a game idea I have had in my head for a while. However, it will be a long slow road to that – hence the aim for the demos. By the end of the year, I would like to have three demos done using either unity or cryengine and up on my portfolio.

Third is that I’ve picked up some terrible eating habits in my first term at Abertay. I’m over spending on food (especially with buying lunch out and post-Uni treats) and getting stuff that’s easy to cook but not exactly the best for me. Worst of all is the sheer amount of Iron Bru I’ve been drinking (around 16 cans a week). This is okay with Pepsi Max but with a full sugar drink like Iron Bru, its a nightmare in the making. When I first got home my Mum pointed out I seemed to have grown a belly which is not the thing you want to hear after spending a term going to the gym nearly every day. Being at home has reminded me of the joy of cured meats and fresh veg which the local supermaket stock in quantities. Also I want to get back to slow cooking stuff – stew that is tasty and lasts for a week or two is a good thing. I also want to try and find some decent fish – I’ve noticed frozen pollack in the LIDL which I might buy, split up and fry/poach every now and then. So the aim is to have a diet to match the activity level

The final point is about this blog and my portfolio. They have both been a little underused in the last year – I’ve managed about one post a month for most of last year and then it dropped off (lets not even talk about the portfolio shall we). So next year, an ideal would be a blog post a week. Some will be “Whats going on”, some will be reviews again and some will be writing about other topics. But the aim is to stick to this. My portfolio also needs updating with more projects and to be kept up to date. I keep thinking how vital it will be in the upcoming few months to assist in job hunting.

So, TLDR:

  • 2013 was pretty good
  • 2014 is going to be hard but fun
  • Aim to make a Kill Team and paint up my FoW models
  • Work on realistic, tactical third person shooter demo components – at least 3 before end of year
  • Fix diet when at Uni
  • One blog post a week, keep portfolio up to date