As I sit here at my desk typing away furiously at a keyboard at 12:58 AM on a
Monday night (Tuesday morning), I realize that most of the things that I do are because other people ask me to do them. Not to sound like some sort of depressed loser, but looking at my recent tasks and accomplishments, it is the truth. Even this blog post is a mandated upload from a Professor for a class assignment. I’m not saying that I’m not motivated and that I can’t get off my lazy butt and do things, but when is it okay to break away from the chains of mundane tasks and follow your dreams?
Yesterday I promised a student, who I worked on a project with in the past, that I would re compile the project and send it to him so that he could show it to potential employers.
Last weekend I really wanted to make a blog post about my experiences with the IGM Interactive Media Guild Halloween Hackathon. I planned to go into detail about how I hadn’t touched character modeling and animation in over 2 years and how I went from pre-concept all the way to a fully animated character model in about 18 hours. I really wanted to express my feelings of crunch time production and all the great bonding experiences I shared with other game developers who shared the same passions for greatness. But instead I had to do homework for my other classes.
Over the summer I wanted to make a cool and goofy flash game and publish it on the internet to a website such as Kongregate.
For this entire past year I wish I could go back to my hobby of level design and world building by having some time to work on my Counter Strike maps.
Yet it seems that I’m working crazy long days averaging about 6 hours of sleep on a good night. So where does all the time go? Is it Facebook, reddit, or maybe sitting on my ass telling myself to get my act together? No, it’s not! Well, maybe some of it…
But mostly the time has been getting eaten up by other people like I mentioned before. It’s usually school related, both directly and indirectly related to class work.
Honestly I don’t know why I’m writing this. El’ says to ignore the man and follow your dreams. Clive says that writing helps our brains exercise and what not. Everyone has their opinions. I’m not here to judge. Blogs are suppose to be short little dribbles of thought with 50% entertainment and 50% information. I’ve already past the point of no return in terms of attention span, and so far this blog has been 0% entertainment, 0% informational, and 100% garbage data.
So for the reader who is still reading, I implore you to stop. Close this window and go and follow your passion. You’re not fooling anyone, I know reading this blog isn’t your dream.
…You’re still reading…
Well okay. If you insist, then I’ll continue with a long and boring opinion of my first semester of Graduate school. Oooh. Feel the excitement. I told you to stop.
Well, here goes nothing. This is the story of Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man.
Yep, that’s me trying to adventure through this crazy thing we call academia.
So Grad School for Game Design and Development, all we do is play games right? It doesn’t seem that hard. This semester I’m enrolled in four classes, which are Game Development Processes, Game Design, Gameplay and Prototyping, and Colloquium in Game Design and Development.
Game Development Processes is a very interesting class. In this class we discuss game production, how to produce and develop a game from start to finish, and how to deal with all the formal aspects related to documentation and such. It has really opened my eyes and reminded me of topics that I already knew about. I have definitely taken a new approach to game development while taking this class. One of the core elements that I took away from this class was that now I always make a game design document for any game that I work on, whether it is for a full fledged game intended for production or just a pitch with 5 slides in a power point. It really helps with making a better quality product.
Game Design is a very intensive literature and philosophical based class. I do a lot of readings for this class. Most of them are very interesting, and I wish I had the time to read them in full detail rather than skimming for material essence and core content. But the really valuable experiences in the class are from the dialogues with the other students in the class about the reading material. Bouncing ideas off of other scholars, arguing about opinions, and embracing new ideas is simply amazing.
Gameplay and Prototyping is a very work intensive class that simulates what, I assume, one of the parts of R&D to be, at a game company. Our assignments can be clearly mapped to a producer at the company coming down to your desk, informing you of a game idea, and asking if you can have a playable prototype by the end of the week to show to the rest of the team in order to figure out whether the game is fun or not and therefor inform the decision on whether or not to fund this as a full time project for the company. Getting the opportunity to practice these skills is super valuable. The only way to get better is to really get enthusiastic about the tasks and practice, practice, practice. Through time, critique, iteration, and willpower even a square marble block can become a grand vision of art.
Colloquium in Game Design and Development is a pretty unique class in the aspect that the topic changes every week. Sometime I call it “Special Topics” because of that. Sometimes we have professors come in and talk about there research projects or their special interests of study. Other times we have special guest speakers from industry, who give us an inside look on how the game industry works from their point of view.
But honestly, I really love it. It has been a great experience so far. I only see it getting better. We are going to make the next great games of tomorrow.