That’s it finished! Or as finished as it can be anyway. I don’t think a game can ever actually be finished, and I have loads of ideas for how this could be continued, but nothing that can be implemented in less than a week, so I’m calling it. I decided a couple of months ago that I’d just develop up to the deadline and whatever was in there was in there, as I am horrible at scope and I knew I’d never get everything I wanted in.
Regardless, I guess I’m happy with it. I’m proud of what I’ve achieved this year – I made 3 games all by myself, built up an fx reel, improved two extracurricular games, released one (make that two next week) and won an award or four….
Unfortunately I haven’t hit my BIG goal yet, which is to get a job in the games industry, but I’m going to keep working on my folio and fingers crossed something will come my way soon. I’ve put in about 20 applications so far and have heard back from about half of them, but there’s some clear gaps in my folio that I need to address. I need to really focus in on my specialization as I’m not strong enough in 2D to ever be a generalist. My summers going to be filled with explosions, magic and muzzle flashes!
Specialization was probably my biggest regret with the honours project. I made this thing that’s like the indie/experimental games that I love and explored some ideas that have been floating around in my head for a while, but I think if I’d concentrated purely on fx all year I might have a job by now.
I don’t have any regrets about this as a research project however – I combined a lot of different ideas here and explored an area that doesn’t seem to have much pre-existing research, which is pretty exciting! The game seemed to be generally successful in testing, and those that have played it recently have given me really positive feedback.
I’d like to expand upon the game at some point. As I said earlier, I have a lot of ideas! I’ve been talking to a programmer about adding procedural generalization and a bigger, more open world to the game. This is going to be put aside whilst I work on my folio this summer, perhaps it will be something I return to after that. I’ve been thinking about putting the game forward for grants or business initiatives. If something comes up I’ll certainly send the prototype and my business plan their way (I priced it all out a while back when I had been determined to be an indie…been really indecisive about my next move this year) but its not my first plan, as after talking to several developers about indie life at expos this year I don’t fancy the financial situation. William Hugh, one of the developers of The Stanley Parable – a VERY popular game – talked about living with his parents at Rezzed…not really what I had in mind. So we’ll see, I’ll have to go home after graduation anyway.
Looking at the environment art for the project, I’m pretty dissapointed. I had some mad notion that I’d be able to get great at environment art, fx art and make a whole game this year. As I mentioned before…I don’t do realistic scope. I don’t feel like my skills in that area really improved this year.
I am really happy with my effects art though! The difference that can be seen from the Seek effects to the final Presence effects is really big. I know my way around cascade very well now, and wouldn’t feel intimidated about being asked to create an effect I’ve never done before. I’d like to take this further, learn more about Maya’s particles, particularly fluids, and maybe do a wee bit of effects stuff in Unity.
Overall, the game is something to be proud of. It achieves its relaxation goals, the art direction is strong and overall the art looks good (according to other people…not sure I agree with this one, but then again, when has an artist ever liked their work?) Seeing the game played in the HIVE was amazing – Doug’s music playing though the speakers and the big dark room really bring out the best of it and it really does show it to its best. I feel I learned a lot about creating games, improved my logic and feel like I know a lot about Unreal! Though these skills may be a bit irrelevant in non UE jobs, I’ve always wanted to create a game as a solo developer so I’m happy to have been given the chance to do this.
Its not really all finished though – I still have to create a HIVE build and get ready for the showcase!