3 Years Later: Year Two

This is part two of my little series about what I’ve done in the past 3 years of my life to take myself from a kid that had never made a 3D game in his life to someone who lives and breathes game programming on several projects (commercial and otherwise). Here’s a link to John Hable’s talk about HDR lighting in Uncharted 2 convincing me to drown myself in graphics programming in my spare time. This was a big jump for someone that thought they might still want to be a game designer less than a year earlier.

Lesson here? Student competitions are important, teaching more about deadlines and quality game development than any class could, because to be honest, student projects often are only a fraction of a someone’s grade. The project for Ford Credit had that extra mile of polish that can only come from really wanting to make the best game possible. Getting in that extra stretch of polish and bug fixes before a class deadline lacks incentive because it probably won’t budge someone’s grade unless it’s worth at least half the student’s grade. I’ll be revisiting that theory of mine in my next article.

Enter: Olympus

I mentioned that their were two projects in the wake of the power plant management game. The second one was a motion controlled action adventure about Greek Mythology. The purpose of the game was to be used to study the effectiveness of aggressive motion controls in an entertainment game (as opposed to a game like Wii Fit, where exercise is the consumer’s intent).

I started as what I would probably refer to as a “junior programmer” handling basic gameplay tasks while I was still heavily involved in the Ford project and my first class about game design and development. However, I would inherit the role of leading up the player and motion control code when the original programmer graduated, continuing into the summer. I’ll pick up on that story in my next post about lessons from my third year of learning game dev.