Goals of 2010: Part 2 – rounding up (already)

Here we have a good example of why you should think a few more times than one when starting a series of posts. In this case, I found out many of these points were half-finished, although they could be considered “finished” if you tweaked the goal a bit. So instead of writing one post for each, I’ll write this one post, and then be able to go on with other ideas.

The “Learn UDK or Unity” point was pretty much fulfilled. I did learn the UDK level editor with their BSPs (geometric shapes) and Terrain tool, Kismet (a “visual scripting language” i.e drag and connect boxes of conditions/actions and logic) and, towards the fall and winter, made a half-working HUD, menusystem in Scaleform and applying it to UDK, as well as a loading screen and splash screen.

The “Learn Photoshop” point was pretty much fulfilled. Although what I initially implied was “learn to draw”, what I did learn was how to use photoshop is used with pretty bad drawing skills to create something nice anyway. Sure, the menus and interface may not look amazingly super-good, but they do look quite alright. I suspect I should put a screenshot up to let you be the judge, but I’ll make do with simply looking back and give my own impression of the result.

The “Learn lua” point went beyond expectation. I initially wrote this point to make sure I finally took the time to learn this language so I could start scripting or perhaps do a UI-mod to World of Warcraft, but as summer came I stumbled upon the course “programming for World of Warcraft” which taught these very things and then some. I still got some complementary work before the course can be formally closed, but it totally meets this goal.

The “make some small games” point failed miserably, no matter how you bend it. I didn’t even start doing a first game. Booo! :(

The “build a map in Warcraft 3 or World in Conflict” point is sort of fulfilled. I drew some flow chart maps for the levels, and made a quick draft in the WC3-editor, but never iterated on it. Boo! However, and even better, I did make a map with UDK, and did so in an iterative manner. By “doing a map”, I’m only considering the geometry, spaces and connections between them, not any fancy shaders or special effects (or, sadly, scripting). I started out using geometric shapes to build as close to a final level as I could and when we were happy with that I used the terrain tool to build a height map for the level and placing out the major props of the level (the minor props weren’t made as far as I’m aware). This is, perhaps, for another post.

The “lead something well” point was part failed, part done way more than I could anticipate. When written, I only intended for the project that was currently going. However, just weeks into the year, I was elected chairman for the Skövde game dev student association known as AGES (“Academic Game Environment – Skövde”, for those who wished to know), a task I’ve put energy into and is fairly sure I’ve done well (I’ll have to ask the board and the members afterwards to be sure, though). Towards the spring, I got another leadership position in our school project “Wheelchair Racer”. Although the game became way less then we wanted it too, and didn’t at all take the direction I was initially wishing it for due to compromises in very early stages, I believe I did a fair enough job. The group had very little drama and we shared the vision (note: we were only two people when said compromise was made, the others joined later on), but I could’ve done more to know what the designers wanted personally and how they were doing during the project. So that project is at my minus-account for this point. However, just a few weeks after the project I got recruited on a new one to design and lead. Among this new team were some members of the old, and afterwards I learned the previous project had influenced that decision to pick me up. So I suppose I can’t have done as bad as I believe. This fall project went smooth, although shut down mostly due to lack of programmers on the team.

I could have written in length about this, but I decided not to. It didn’t go that well as to be worth writing ten posts publicly about, but it went well enough to write something about.

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