Cycle 3: Reflection

Looking back upon the semester of IGB100 I’ve noticed as significant improvement in my abilities to use Unity and other programs associated with game development. Initially it started out as a daunting task having had minimal experience with these pieces of software, however the “trial by fire” as it were, was a good way to get introduced to the development process. Additionally being encouraged to experiment with blender and other programs to produce our own assets was an interesting learning experience as well and regardless of improvements made to my skills it also gave me an appreciation for that aspect of the design process.

While I had group members that were more than happy to assist me with any issues I may have had I found that this unit and unity especially encouraged me to seek out the answers to my own problems. Either through documentation or online forums and overall I feel that my ability to operate independently improved greatly throughout this semester. However, despite this independence, I also learned the value of discussing and collaborating with my peers and group members. Because even though it wasn’t completely necessary to work as a group it helped to discuss with them to flesh out concepts, seek constructive criticism and exchange ideas and insights.

Throughout each cycle I attempted to learn something new and implement this knowledge somehow in my project. In the first cycle I focused on my understanding of gameplay and design to try and make the prototype feel balanced and challenging like an arcade game. In the second cycle, I attempted a less traditional concept that encouraged me to focus on my abilities as a programmer to implement relatively complex systems compared to any of my previous projects, as well as attempting to learn 3D modelling tools like MAYA and Blender. Finally, in the third cycle I wanted to see how the Unity 2D engine worked and tried to see how the look and feel of a game affects its overall impact I did so by creating 2D pixel sprite characters and animations.

I felt that these experiments gave me a better overall understanding of the industry I wish to enter, however it also highlighted that there is still a lot for me to learn continuing with my degree and that I would like to expand upon this knowledge in my fee time over the holidays.

While I noticed a lot of self-improvements over the course of the semester I also noted several problems that need addressing if I hope to work as effectively as possible in groups and individual projects moving on. I found that I worked more effectively and managed my time much better at the start of the semester compared to the end which lead to major sacrifices in my projects especially the final cycle, which I was not particularly happy with in some aspects.

While I could argue that this was due to other assignments and my attempt at doing an additional subject for the semester, ultimately it came down to my own organisational skills and my underestimation of the time required to produce a project of quality. Furthermore, it is this kind of attitude that could significantly impact the performance of a group project and given my aspirations to lead teams in game design it’s important that I demonstrate a sound work ethic. This is something I hope to improve as proper time management and organisation is vital to producing quality work that I can be content with, on time.

As well as this my team skills did see an improvement, however a majority of what I will take away from this unit is a number of things for me to work on in the future. Communication with my team outside of class was good but could see improvements as well as participating more in discussions in class and not reserving constructive criticism for fear of upsetting members of my team because criticism is something I personally try to grow from and my group members felt the same way. The ability to discuss things freely in a group and voice opinions is highly important in the design process and I plan on improving this greatly if I wish to be a leader in future projects, personal or professional.

Overall this unit has taught me a lot about myself and my behaviours as a designer and team member, I’ve been encouraged to challenge my own behaviours and analyse the way I function regarding projects. This analysis has been extremely helpful in growing as an effective game developer.

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