Production: Summer Goals and Senior Production

Now that production is finished and teams for next year have been set up it’s a good time to look forward. My initial team for next year is competent and has another programmer, however they were also a production 1 team for the full semester. This leaves me as a bit of an outsider coming onto a team that has already worked together. I think this will actually be an advantage and make the prototyping more pleasant. I don’t have a problem allowing the existing team to run the show while I pick up programming slack, or being the lead programmer and driving development.

Senior Production

  1. Learn Unreal by making a small game
  2. Cut scope
  3. Write down any game ideas.

For the summer to prepare for production I want to make a basic game for Unreal and learn blueprints. While talking about it, and from my limited experience, it seems like coding thru blueprints is the supported way and while code is available it is less clearly documented and supported than in Unity. It’ll be interesting to use visual programming since the closest thing I can imagine is Scratch. Additionally I’m expected it to be frustrating integrating blueprints and real code for more complicated features.

I’m also worried about version control with Unreal. Unity was a complete nightmare until I went on an Indie work space tour in Montreal. A developer there explained how they used multiple scenes to avoid merge conflicts while working on the same level. That discovery completely blew my mind and made version control this year so much easier. I’ve heard that Unreal is less of a problem, but I think the first project will still be a painful mess of merge conflicts.

The most important thing I want to do in senior production is cut scope in every way possible. I want to say “absolutely not, here’s why that would take too much time” to every new feature. I want to cut every game to the simplest version possible, and then cut that down. I fully expect to be overridden most of the time, and carried away in excitement some of the time. However, starting out by trying to minimize scope will hopefully keep the game to a manageable size.

Professional Goals

  1. Improve at graphics programming
  2. Finish my website
  3. Improved coding posture

Intermediate graphics this year was cool. However, it was such a scramble that many basic graphics concepts are still fuzzy. I can tell you that we multiply things by the MVP matrix in the vertex shader, or sometimes just by MV and then P. However I’m not completely sure which one transforms to world space and which one to camera space. I also don’t know why the lighting continues to vary based on camera position.

Over the summer I’m going to learn more about OpenGL and graphics programming so that I can specialize in graphics, and hopefully use it in senior production.

I want to finish my website because it’s embarrassing. I also want to learn more web development skills and refresh my current ones so it will be a great way to learn.

I want to improve my coding posture because of a team photo in the labs. My spine looks like a C with my shoulders hunched forward and back bent. While sitting and coding for the long hours at Fidelity I want to remember my posture so I don’t damage my spine and wrists.

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