Shiny and new

Here I am with my brand new website. This website is going to be my new development blog as well as my test bed for a lot of the related web work and other experiments that I might want to do.

Why you ask? Because I started my placement this week and encountered an amount of web development that I don’t feel qualified for. With only a vague outline of what my new job might entail I have spent the last couple of weeks brushing up on my web acronyms, HTML PHP CSS DW WP and web design concepts. Without much to go on the review has been lazy and largely unproductive, then over the weekend I got the idea of creating my own website incorporating some of the tools that I knew I’d be using to help get myself back into the swing of things. I’ve been planning to set up my own website for some time now and this seems like the perfect excuse. So I made the decision and with the help of a friend go it set up. Now the more I look into the management of this website the more I realise just how much things have changed. I may be in over my head.

My web skills are rusty to say the least. I haven’t done any real web related work in twelve years, and even that couldn’t be considered anything close to professional. It was me setting up and maintaining an apache web server on a static IP that I had and my graphic artist roommate putting up 5mb flash animations. Then I used some of the management tools to monitor and hack the rest of my roommates. Good times.

So here goes nothing. I’m using WordPress to do the bulk of the design while I examine and rework some of the inner workings. Wish me luck

Summer is over

The summer break is over and I have little to show for it.

I started a game project using Unity3D in May. I did, what I thought, was a quick and simple design and got to work. Progress was very slow at first, learning the Unity engine meant multiple complete start overs. It was very frustrating but thankfully Unity is well documented and has a huge community so with a little persistence I was able to get the hang of it.

Around the end of June I started to get somewhere. I had playable elements of the game and the starts of a menu system and then two things happened, I started testing and my son finished school.

Every test I ran revealed some kind of problem, be it a bug or a design flaw or just a little tweek needed. Most of them were minor, some were less so. I started to work through it but my development time quickly dwindled away. When I did get some time the list continued to grow instead of shrink.

I haven’t touched the game in almost three weeks. I couldn’t bare the thought of embarking on another aspect with so little time left. So there my game sits for now, waiting to be completed. What it all boils down to is that I lost momentum on the project and now the project seems too big for me to pick up again. My schedule is now almost completely filled up and I have  a long way to go before I’ll be happy letting it see the light of day. On the bright side I now consider myself competent with Unity and Javascript. I’ve got a good feel for indie development and game development and how I can better approach it in the future.

I get asked a lot by prospective students if game development is hard and I’ve always just answered yes. It’s really hard, just about as hard as programming gets. One student took it a step further and asked me why. Well now I have a real answer. Even simple games quickly become big projects, there are that many systems, score keeping, artwork and animation, physics, levels, rules, etc… all working together, just keeping a track of it all is a challenge.