Cycle 3 – Reflection

Looking back to the previous cycles until this current one, I have come to learn and understand many new things and information. There will all be very useful to me, if not now then definitely later. Teamwork, deadlines, working under pressure, time management; these are just some new skills I have acquired but there are definitely more that weren’t mentioned here.

Besides the newly developed abilities to operate Unity and write blog posts, I have also developed many no -technical skills during the time in this unit. Those were friendship, teamwork and better communication, as well as the ability to work under pressure and time constraint, looking out for and helping out team members. These skills have been built at the start and polished over time which changes how I look at newly made friends who might just be my group member in another unit. This leads to communication between each other, which helps me honed this skill even further. Now I can express my thoughts much easier and clearer.

Many systems have been put in place to manage individual and team activities amongst the team members. One of them being meeting up in the workshop session. This is the time where everyone can group up and do team relate work face to face. Another strategy is to utilise a common platform of social media, which in this case is Facebook. Everything related to the team becomes a conversation there. Ideas and questions that weren’t present at the workshop meeting has been introduced. As well as helping other members who weren’t present at the previous workshop meeting catch up to the rest. By far, Facebook communication has been the most effective strategy used to manage the team.

Each members has different level of responsibilities within the team. This also has to consider for their outside-of-team responsibilities such as other unit’s work and personal life responsibility. Although if that is to be ignored, the team did very well in my opinion in terms of fair work practices, tasks and activities completion, honesty between one another and overall participation of everyone in the team. Every cycles, the team would decide together of who is doing which activities of that particular cycle. The activities would be broken up equally amongst the team members to assure that it is fair for everyone and keeps the level of participation equal for all. Those activities then becomes the responsibility of the holder. I can agree that this section has become an individual responsibility because the marks belongs to those who decides to complete their assigned activities for the cycle. This leads to the honesty aspect of the members, which I can tell that we all possess such attribute. If we need help; we ask, if we can’t attend meeting; we provide legitimate reason, no matter how unreasonable it sounds.

In the end, I’m glad I got Josh and Tom as my team members, as they hold those positive attributes towards one another and we got each other’s back all the way through cycle 1 to 3. This team wouldn’t be holding up without everyone’s contribution and positive attitude towards one common goal.

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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.

Reflection Post

Professional Development

I learned that teamwork and communication are very important in designing a game. I noticed in the first project that our communication wasn’t especially good but we still managed to produce a set of games that were very similar. Unfortunately this time our ideas varied a bit and our games appear to have gone in slightly different directions. We all put our own unique spin on the basic idea that we came up with and we all produced nice looking games.

Working in Teams and Other Majors

During this process I learned a bit of basic animation from working in Blender and using the Unity animation tool, however, my Blender animations never made it into the final game. We shared some resources but we ended up making our own individual games as we wanted to make slightly different ideas and we were trying to get the most individual experience we could from the project.

Individual Work

I enjoyed making the different venom effects for each of my snakes (as difficult as it was) because it gave me experience programming elements of a game I wasn’t even aware existed. I disliked having to use the default FPSController because my code couldn’t interact with it for some reason and I was too busy to recreate it. I found some sound effects in my SFX library that fit perfectly into the game and required very little editing. I tried a lot of coding that I’ve never had a chance to use before such as Switch statements which was excellent practice.

Ethical Issues

There could be a number of ethical issues related to animal violence that could be brought up about this game. However, pests such as snakes are exterminated, this game just represents a crude way of doing it. I don’t think it will be an issue, especially since the game will never see a major release.

 

Cycle 2: Reflection

Professional Development and practice:

Considering the demands of Cycle 2 I found a struggled a little more than usual due to my personal decision from the beginning the make my own 3d assets as well as scripts. This is mostly due to my limited experience with 3d modelling and animation, it was interesting learning how to produce my own assets and it gave me an idea of what it takes to be a 3d artist. Overall Cycle 2 has given me an opportunity to learn new skills and understand a whole new aspect of the game development cycle. Additionally, it has given me an understanding of a different genre of games and what it takes to make a first-person game that feels “complete.”

Working in a team:

Working in a team for Cycle 2 was partly effective in terms of managing team activities and sharing resources and knowledge however for this cycle there was less communication due to unforeseen circumstances e.g. floods, people being sick. This impacted the Thursday workshops which exposed the group’s dependence on these workshops to collaborate, solve problems and share ideas in person. As usual team members were always happy to share snippets of code and help each other in areas that others might be less knowledgeable in. However, in the next cycle it would be beneficial to the group to engage more outside of normal contact ours considering there was major disruptions to the Thursday workshops this cycle.

Working Independently:

Working independently for this task was difficult due to deciding to learn more about 3d modelling and animation so time had to be taken to learn the software required. Additionally, due to the nature of first person games, they can take more hours to produce a prototype of reasonable quality therefore it required more motivation to continue working on the prototype. For future projects, it would be much more efficient to breakdown the workload into section to be worked on over the course of the cycle. However, I was not this organised and it began to show towards the end of production.

Ethical considerations:

Considering the ethical consideration of the game there is the possibility for offence since you do attack and kill snakes in game. However, these depictions are kept as basic and non-gratuitous as possible so as not to make it into anything more than an innocent tower defence. Additionally, there could be inferences made by players that the game could be offensive commentary on immigration however this is simply not true as every model is basic and just depicting one character or model with no sub-context implied. Overall there’s a minimal societal impact with the mini-game, this too can be said about how the product created might affect quality of life as it is only a small-scale game and can at most only have a small-scale impact if any at all.

Cycle 2 – Reflection Post

By going through the design process, I have learnt that professional development requires massive amount of consistent hard work and team work coordination as well as perfection level of time management. I learnt that the design process needs to be done step by step and when in a team, earlier parts of the workload has to be done before team can move on any further. This requires skillful communication between the members in the team to get the whole project completed on time. This ties in with consistency of hard work and commitment to doing them. “Quality over quantity” was a quote I heard from my previous tutor and I stick to it ever since. From all the knowledge I have learnt, there is a noticeable link between them all; without one aspect, the rest cannot be accomplished.

As a major software technology and minor animation student, I have learnt that working in a mixed team of members being very skillful at one aspect is very useful in putting together a commendable game. I noticed that unless you did the major from year 1, things will be much harder to understand and proceed on. As team members, we exchange knowledge on what we have learnt so far from the our majors. Even if we are in the same major, we can still help each other out, there’s always something new to learn. As me personally, I rely on my team mates for quite a bit, when I don’t understand something or just getting them to catch me up to where they are up to.

It is definitely from coding the core mechanics of the game prototype on my own that makes me feel satisfied the most. Especially the the hit box of the shovel and putting all the scripts and game objects together to make the game, it feels like completing a 1000 pieces jigsaw puzzle, maybe more. I need to mention that a team member have purchased some assets for the whole team to used without asking for a money pitch. If I knew beforehand, I would have insisted on paying some for it since I used the assets he bought as well. I was very pleased with creating the animation, even though its as simple as moving up and down, stimulating whacking movement. I feel that the knowledge from my minor in animation has helped in understanding the terms Unity used for their animation process (I’m currently using Blender for the animation unit). Although I got some help from the tutor on making the hit box of a melee weapon, I feel that I can still be proud because of what I have done after leaving the session at home, extending what the tutor has showed me and go further.

The prototype can possibly be criticised for its ethical issues on animal cruelty; smashing snakes with a shovel, although the possibility is critically slim. My thought is that there isn’t any ethical issue attached to this First Person Experience inspired by recent events. I see the game as something not to be taken seriously in terms of reality. Otherwise it would be equivalent to saying saying Call of Duty multiplayer is wrong because people kill each other to see who comes on top. Most games were made for entertainment, but different players get different influence from playing. This FPS was made to played purely for fun. If someone was playing this game without knowing that it is inspired by a recent events, they would most likely never figure it out at all.

My Reflection

  1. Professional Development and Practice

When I first began creating the game I had had very little experience in Unity and programming but I managed to pick it up fairly quickly after watching the tutorial videos and began writing my own code with some help from online tutorials and explanations. I’m now confident with basic programming in Unity and know my way around the program itself but I have no experience in 3D modelling and would like to further my skills in that during the next project. I also plan to include audio in the game as I ran out of time during this one and it will add a lot of depth and help player immersion.

  1. Working in a team

It was easy working in a team with Tom and Khanakarn as they were easy to talk to and had good ideas for the outcome of the project. We decided to divide up the activities evenly but each helped the others to complete them. When it came to actually making the game, we started working on our projects individually and completed the tutorials but continued to assist each other by sharing code or testing each other’s games for bugs or problems and offering advice if someone was having problems. We continued to work as a team and help each other out until everything was completed.

  1. Working independently

As soon as I could, I put together the website to give us somewhere to show our progress and pool our resources to help motivate us. Most of the activities that we were required to do were finished in class as a group and only needed to be touched up at home and then uploaded. The programming step was fun, so I was able to spend hours at a time getting all of the mechanics to work. The biggest problem was that when something didn’t work I’d get frustrated and need to take a break to calm down and be able to think straight again. I often found myself realizing the solution to a problem just as I was falling asleep, so I’d need to get up and try it before I could sleep.

  1. Ethical Considerations:

The game won’t necessarily change anyone’s life but I do hope that with our unusual game mechanics and the potential for the game as a final, finished project that people will be able to play and enjoy it and it might influence other game developers in the future and create a small genre of strategy, shoot ‘em up games.

Reflection

Professional Development and practice:

Upon starting project 1 I found that my current set of skills allowed me to match the tests required of developing a mini-game in terms of using Unity to combine and manipulate assets, general game design and programming aspects of the game. However, this said I do wish to further advance my skills in terms of basic animation and 3d-modling so that I don’t have to rely as heavily on other resources and can make a game that fits the original concepts, rather than having to make sacrifices due to lack of knowledge. Despite these gaps there are other’s that I managed to fill while completing the project, mostly to do with using the unity editor as  well as programming concepts I hadn’t been introduced to previously. Overall the activity has given me an appreciation for the logistics and planning required for games of greater scale as I found planning made a significant difference to developing a mini-game. Additionally, this has further affirmed my desire to be part of the industry and further develop my skills.

Working in a team:

Working as a team for the mini-game project was relatively effective in terms of managing team activities as each activity was the responsibility of a different team member however we all collaborated and made an input. While the members of the group had a mostly programming background, some had less experience than others with unity. It was interesting to see how each member went about solving certain problems with code and assisting each other at different points of development helped fill gaps in team knowledge as well as solidify that knowledge for those helping the others. Communication was strong between group members with group chats eing used heavily as well as in class collaboration times and this allowed for easy feedback between team members which allowed us to fine tune our individual projects and fix bugs.

Working Independently:

Working Independently was a challenge in terms of motivation, mostly motivation came from the curiosity involved with learning the software and concepts of game design however with somewhat limited prior knowledge it sometimes seemed like a large task to complete until it was broken down into sections. This was probably the most effective work habit as breaking the project down into more bite-sized chunks made it easier to systematically work through and complete however combining this with other assignment work did prove to be challenging.

Ethical considerations:

When it comes to ethical considerations regarding our mini-game there weren’t really a lot of things to consider since we went for a traditional space shooter look and feel. However as usual there were design choices and ideas that had to be analysed to be sure there weren’t any ethical issues with them. Overall there’s a minimal societal impact with the mini-game, this too can be said about how the product created might affect quality of life as it is only a small-scale game and can at most only have a small-scale impact if any at all.