An overview of my first module
Hello! My name is Lucas, and I’m a Brazilian software developer and game designer aspirant. I’ll share some of my motivations, challenges faced, and learning outcomes after my first module.
Starting from the very beginning, I moved with my family from Brazil to Brussels 2 years ago. After moving, I realized that my lack of formal education would represent a problem to continue my professional life. I faced this situation as an opportunity to review my career and personal goals and realized how deeply frustrated I was. I found an alignment between Game Development and my interests and decided I want to build entertainment products. I wish to make a significant shift in my career.
In my first weeks, I followed up on all the material provided, and in parallel, I started reading Fundamentos of Game Design, by Ernest Adams. It was my first book related to discipline. I got interested in how to prototype using physical materials like paper or Lego blocks. The first three challenges were exciting. The main remark from this phase was to start facing my fears. I always was insecure about failure or not produce something good enough from my perspective. When I started to do the reverse engineering challenge using the game “Factorio,” I got stuck, and it took me some time to finish. I tried to meet these expectations and learn how to complete the project without satisfying my inner criticism. That was when I started to live the reduction of scope in a realistic way.
That was when I learned that I would need some time to do simple tasks like build and submit the game. I was motivated and eager to apply the creative technics that I just learned. I also wanted to know more about post-processing and shaders. My central learning of this session was again the reduction of scope. I had some feedback from my peers, but I missed the timing, and I started to face some of my limitations. After this session, reflexive domains began to make much more sense to me.
Just after that, I started to have a lot of “setbacks” in my schedule. My job started to consume more of my time, the school of my son was closed, we got quarantined again, even my wife got COVID. I lost almost all my free time and available energy to focus properly on the course. Only in the middle of November, I was able the re-engage. It forced me to review my way to work and produce the maximum that I could.
I re-started with the reflexive nature topic and identified some difficulties with my dispositional and interpersonal domains. I reviewed my schedule and started to use them in my daily practice. I adopted some agile concepts like using sprints and making retrospectives. I could regain pace and set up a good list of goals and strategies to fill them. I lived the adoption of agile from a personal perspective and could experience some of the challenges faced by this adoption by the game industry.
I finished the second ideation with a considerable reduction of my original scope but with a presentable game. I focused on the basic gameplay and started evolving the game using a concentric design approach, iterating over the build versions. [reference]
Facing my deficiencies, I started to engage with the other students and even created a Twitter profile, which I’m trying to keep updated.
On the side of game development, I felt limited by my lack of experience in my chosen tools. Unity is powerful and has a tremendous amount of resources. I considered this feeling and started a separate course about it. I did some Blender tutorials during both ideation sessions and used some 3D assets on my prototypes. However, due to my time limitation, I decided to deprioritize this subject and focused the rest of my free time studying more about gameplay.
I read many articles about agile adoption in game development and some systematic reviews about the theme from the academic perspective. I also got interested in related researches about computational creativity and the usage of the Monte Carlo Algorithms. I separated those subjects to further readings.
I’m ending this module feeling empowered. I faced so many challenges and learned so much! I adopted a better schedule, and studying became a habit. I’m still learning how to make better scope decisions, but I think this is part of my learning process. And more importantly, I’m having so much fun! At the end of RA2, I lost count of how many times I got myself playing like a child with my prototype or trying to sketch a small dialog. Even if they were not used in the final version of the project. There is a long road for me to become a game developer and have my indie studio, but I’m very optimistic about it. (smile!)