GameHack 2012

This weekend I am at the GameHack 2012 event. This is my first time experiencing something like this, a day to come up with a game solution that meets one or some of the criteria set out at the beginning. The judges get to decide which team gets the prizes!

The day started off with me travelling to Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, a 40 minute journey for me by car along the motorways. I parked the car and walked to the studio where the Game Hack was taking place. I registered my name and went and found a seat. Since I was on my own and required a team I did a bit of mingling. There were of course way too many programmers/developers to go around, but I was lucky to get in a team that knew what they were doing and required my skills.

The first thing of the day was to go to a different studio within Pinewood and listen to guest speakers from each of the sponsoring companies of the event including the likes of facebook, Sony Entertainment, Papaya, Marmalade, Mozilla, BlueVia, and more. There was also a quick motion picture on Pinewood itself and the history of it and why it is so popular with some of the biggest Hollywood directors. It was all very interesting to listen to.

Afterwards everyone went back and got straight to work on their games!

During the event there has been food and drink, lunch, dinner, snacks, all served at no cost whatsoever. There has even been Beer!

Ever so often during the day I would take a break and speak with my family. The children got on the phone to tell me about their day swimming, what they ate, and said goodnight at their bedtime.

It’s now early hours of the morning and I have learnt loads about facebook and how to implement a game within it’s pages using API’s. The other members of the team have been creating the game itself, a simple idea of the player hoping from island to island vertically attempting to escape the rising water, collecting fruit as they go. The longer the player hangs around for fruit, the more risk they are at becoming drowned!

Well, I’m going to have a quick lay down before I begin coding again getting ready for the pitch to the judges.

T2G Update : Section 2 Examination Result

I PASSED!

I’m really happy that I got good marks because there were sections that I thought I needed to brush up on more.
A result of 87% is great. That’s 52 out of 60 questions correct with all questions answered.

I’m still waiting for the feedback from my Portfolio Projects 01 and 02 that I submitted.

Now on to Section 3 and all about 3D!

T2G Update : Portfolio Projects ready for submission

Today I have printed out all my Train2Game Portfolio Project documents and burnt the files on to CD. Now to get it all bound up in to a folder and posted off for marking. I feel like I have reached a great milestone on the course.

Looking back I can see that it has taken quite a varied time to get to the stage where I am. A breakdown shows it took 2 months to complete Section 1 of the course including taking the exam. For Section 2 it has taken just over 2 months to complete the parts A, B and C of Section 2, and it has then taken 12 months to complete Portfolio Projects 1 and 2. I think it took so long because I took a while getting an understanding on what was required, then I put too much detail in to the technical document to an over sized idea of a game. Once I had that document in a state of completion I went on to the 5 tasks of Portfolio Project 2 and I really got in to these and sped up towards the end.

With self studying you really have to be disciplined and be able to find the time to really get stuck in to the tasks. I feel I have managed to balance the studying, family, and personal life pretty well since September 2010 when I started the course.

Now to get these projects marked and then the Section 2 exam out the way before getting section 3 completed and off I go looking for work along with my updated and completed Portfolio of games I’m creating.

T2G Update : Portfolio Project 2 – Created a running installer and exe

I just did a silly dance in front of my PC to celebrate the fact I have just learnt to create an installer for my application I am building! I feel I’ve managed to accomplish something great in my learning of creating a game. Just a few easy steps and the code has an installer setup wizard.

This has also helped with debugging purposes since the application will need to be distributed to the memory management PC for checking and verifying the memory leaks are not too bad!

T2G Update : Portfolio Project 1 – Ready to Submit

I have managed to finish off the Technical Document for Portfolio Project 01. It has taken a while but I feel I’ve put the right amount of effort in to get a result that is good enough for submission. I can’t submit it though until I’ve complete Portfolio Project 02, so on I go in starting it…

Still loving the course. I’ve been going through the Train2Game forum and seen a lot of useful information. I have yet to post anything on there myself, but may get round to it eventually (much like I eventually get round to posting my own blogs 🙂 ).

There is also information on the Train2Game website about the second Game Jam event they are holding. Now that the children are a bit older it should be possible for me to go and attend, but part of me is a little reluctant at this time until I get a bit more experience and understanding of everything. There are little gaps that I want to fill just to reassure myself before venturing off to join in with everyone else. I guess that’s how I’ve always been, wanting to be well prepared before doing anything. A lot of thinking before actually doing. (TFD – Thinking Feeling Doing)

T2G Update : Portfolio Project 1

The Portfolio Projects are split in to various sections. I have been working on Portfolio Project 1 for three months now (on and off). The basis behind it is that I am to create a technical document that will be used to create a 2D game. The project documentation that describes what is required was pretty good giving examples where necessary, but it also left a lot open to be interpreted and lets you put your own spin on things.
So far I have a 17 page document that is still not finished. Sometimes I think I may have thought up a too complex game idea for what is actually being asked of me. But then everything I do and create during this course is going towards my portfolio at the end, so why shouldn’t I take the extra time and effort to create something that is worthwhile!
There are certain areas which I need to cover within this technical document and often I am concentrating on getting one section done that I lose focus on the overall goal and have to keep revisiting the original outline document to figure out what else I need to do.
I’d say overall I’m happy with how things are progressing, and ideally need to get this document completed by August so I can start on Portfolio Project 2 which involves actually coding up solutions to the headings given.

T2G Update : Section 2 Part C Lesson 21

The final lesson of Section 2 (Simple AI) has been completed! I scored a 95%. The question I got wrong was about what drives AI in game, a) fast, b) memory efficient, or c) complex. I went for b) since everything has to be memory efficient and therefore makes with perform better??? But that was wrong, the correct answer was a) fast. I guess AI has to be fast so that NPC’s don’t stutter around all the place and they can catch up to the player movements and actions quickly.

Two exciting things happen now…

1) Portfolio Project
2) End of Section Examination!

You have now reached the stage in your course where you need to submit your Portfolio Project work. Before progressing any further please ensure you complete the following Portfolio Project work:

Portfolio Project 1
Portfolio Project 2

Once these Portfolio Projects have been successfully completed you will be able to progress with the course.

So I better get on with the portfolio project and pass so I can get the examination out of the way and then on to the final Section of the course!