Sunday, February 10, 2013

Busy Busy Busy

Post frequency has fallen off here quite a lot lately, and I thought I should let y'all know why. I've got LOTS of projects going on, so I'll share what I've been up to.

Procedural Terrain Generation

One of my modules this semester involves procedural terrain generation. I'll be using my space project from last semester and building on it for this coursework. I've been working hard on restructuring my DirectX project from last semester into a class structure that is more pleasing to me. In the process, my knowledge of DirectX is deepening considerably. Where before I understood the existing code well enough to use it, now that I'm restructuring the rastertek framework I am really sinking my teeth into how everything is done.

Unfortunately, it's much slower going than I had expected. I had hoped to have the code restructure done this weekend, but I'm still around halfway through it. If possible, I'd like to finish it by next weekend.

Current Status: Restructuring old code.
This Week's Goal: Complete code restructure, so I can start adding new features.

PlayStation 2 Programming

My other taught module this semester is console programming. Our coursework, and most of the module, is about programming for the PS2. At this point it mostly involves doing tutorials in class, so this is actually my least stressful project currently.

Current Status: Just finished the first 3d graphics tutorials.
This Week's Goal: Keep up to date with weekly tutorials, get ahead if possible.

Havok Team Project

My third module this semester involves two main focuses, the first being a team project in Havok. This is a team of around 10 people, working on a game using the Havok engine, which will be completed at the end of this semester (May). We don't have an external client, so we've been able to pitch our own game ideas, based on the prompt of "physics-based destruction". I think it will be a lot of fun!

Aside from taking up time with meetings, there hasn't been a lot of work for this project yet. I do need to spend some time brushing up on working with the Havok engine - while we became familiar with it last semester, it's easy to forget over the holidays.

Current Status: Formative idea stage - pitching ideas tomorrow.
This Week's Goal: Get up to date with Havok technology.

Master's Dissertation

In addition to the Havok project, my third module also involves individual work on my Master's Dissertation. This semester, I need to choose a research topic, do a literature review around it, and write a proposal for the rest of my dissertation work to be continued over the summer and next fall. This is a huge undertaking, and I'm no good at coming up with ideas. I've been working with one of my lecturers to help develop a project idea, and so far I'm interested in something in the realm of AI. I will either be continuing my Fuzzy Controller / Genetic Algorithm work from last semester or starting on something new.

Current Status: Formative idea stage.
This Week's Goal: Brainstorm several ideas and discuss them with Dr. King.

Pollinator - Flower Defense

Not only do I have all those uni projects, but I also am part of the Game Development Society at Abertay and am working on a mobile game called Pollinator - Flower Defense. It's a tower defense game where you play as a bees defending their hive. I've got a team including a designer and artist, and I'm quite excited to see what we can produce. Unfortunately, I'd hoped I would get some work done on prototypes over the weekend, but that turned out not to be possible due to unexpected emergencies coming up. It's my hope to finish at least one prototype by this Thursday, our meeting.

Current Status: Several design possibilities fleshed out.
This Week's Goal: Produce at least one prototype to present at GDS meeting.

Dare Project

I'm also planning on applying to Dare this year. I've got a full team now, and we're working on solidifying a game concept. At the moment we have general gameplay ideas but need to determine the exact setting and flesh out controls and gameplay. Overall it's going well and I'm excited to work with this great group of folks.

At the moment I am making sure the networking plugin I found for Unity mobile will suit our needs, and getting up to speed on how to use it. Additionally, we are brainstorming ideas and settings, and will be deciding on something at our next meeting this coming Friday.

Current Status: Solidifying ideas, platform and engine research.
This Week's Goal: Complete Unity networking tutorial, brainstorm ideas to bring to the meeting.

Career Stuff

If all that wasn't enough, I've also been rushing around trying to get my CV, portfolio, and business cards up to date to show off at Blitz Open Day, which I'll be attending in two weeks. This involves a lot of iteration based on online reading, trips to Career Services in Abertay to get advice, reading a book on getting into the gaming industry, asking lecturers for feedback, and looking in to printing services. It's taking quite a bit more time than I expected, but I'm hoping the work will pay off. I'm excited to be attending the event, and I think if anything it will be good practice on networking and interacting with industry developers.

Current Status: Electronic copies of CV, Business Card, Portfolio.
This Week's Goal: After getting a last round of feedback, get CV and Business Cards printed.


And that's about it! A ton of stuff, as you can see, but I still want to keep blogging once a day. I just have to accept smaller, progress-style posts instead of huge guides or opinion pieces. This post has already gone on a lot longer than I expected, but I'm hoping going over my different projects and goals will help me focus.

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