Semester long projects for every class! / September Update

Hey, so it hasn’t been too long since my update about what I did over the summer, but the semester is already in full swing and I am currently juggling five semester-long projects. That’s a lot! Lucky for me, I’m enjoying the subject matter of each enough that it doesn’t feel much like work at all, even if I’m constantly behind the computer doing work. I’m loving Montreal so far, and the instructors here are all helpful in their own ways and are an interesting cast of characters, from a toy maker to a UX designer on For Honor to a documentary filmmaker. Let’s just get right into it!

Interactive Storytelling

This project is one I’m massively excited about. If you’ve kept up with what I worked on over the summer, you’d know I’ve been hard at work on a personal project currently called Gas Mask Lounge. My Interactive Storytelling class is all about finding the best ways to enhance a narrative experience with interactivity, and we have a semester-long project where we must work on some form of interactive storytelling. Thankfully, my instructor has allowed me to work on Gas Mask Lounge as that project, so I will be able to put more time towards writing and characters. I’ve already begun fleshing out the six characters that I currently hope to include, and will soon be in full writing mode. I really am glad to have this time and an instructor who will be able to help make this passion project the best it can be. This week, I have to pitch the game to him and the class, and I think the concept and characters are compelling enough to make an enjoyable game. More to come soon!

Applied Ludology

A class I was initially worried about being too boring or hands-off, Applied Ludology has already become one of my favorite classes I’ve taken. Ludology is the study of games and play, and it’s great to be able to break games down to why we as players enjoy them and what parts of them apply to what types of people. We’ve already done multiple case studies, including analyzing the genres and influences on Missile Commander, recontextualizing Portal and its elements to tie into Disney’s Frozen, and created puzzles for Myst.

The semester-long assignment for this course, similar to the course itself, happens to be one I’m having way more fun with than I initially expected. The assignment is a research project about a certain facet of game design, and it was left very wide-open for us to decide on. I ended up choosing to research Metroidvania games and how their movement and traversal systems affect other facets of the game and what developers are doing to make it interesting. The project has 3 major milestones where I will keep researching down until I come to some sort of conclusion, and the first milestone happens to be this week!

My presentation is something I spent a lot of time on, researching and making into an effective tool to convey that research. I’ve attached the presentation here with the slide notes that will explain my entire presentation!

Game Technology II

Game Tech II is an interesting beast, because it’s a class for game designers to teach them lots of new stuff in Unity, but it feels much more like an open workshop, and I love that. Each week, our instructor gives us information about a different thing in Unity; one week we learned all about ProBuilder and its quick geometry capabilities, and another we learned just about lighting in Unity. However, these tools are meant to all go into one big package which will be our final project.

For my final project, I was intrigued with the teleportation system found in the Dishonored series. I really liked the indicator and how the teleportation could be used in both stealth and combat scenarios. I’m not fully set on my design for the overall game, but that’s what I have so far in terms of general direction. I want to challenge myself scripting this game, and it’s already been apparent how much of a challenge this one mechanic is, so I’m excited to keep going forward!

I currently have an indicator that the player can move forward and backwards which sets itself on whatever the highest object within a reasonable height is, and the player can teleport to it. It can teleport inside of some objects because of how ProBuilder works, and I want to fix some visual stuff, but it’s functional and that’s progress!

Emergent Media

This course is something different. A lot of the coursework is experiencing different forms of emerging media and learning more about their development and how they work. This has so far included VR, AR, graffiti, podcasting, and VJing (video DJing). It’s very intriguing to tackle so many new ideas with a game design mindset.

For the final project, we have to create some project around an emerging media that tells a story or focuses on the city of Montreal. I wanted to use this project as a way to show my game design and programming expertise in a different way than normal. My current idea is to make a very small application where two people who can’t decide on a place to eat in Montreal will play Warioware-esque microgames to determine what type of food they’re in the mood for, and then a location that fits the description will be given to the players. I think using my game design ideas to work on a very different type of game for a very different type of audience than I’m used to will take me out of my comfort zone.

Food Writing

Wait, what does this have to do with game design and programming? Nothing, actually! But I felt bad leaving it out, so the quick synopsis is that this class is teaching us a lot about food, writing, and writing about food. For the final, a friend of mine and I are planning to watch a variety of animated movies from Studio Ghibli to find delicious-looking food and recreate them in real life. It’ll be a tantalizing escape from all the coding and research I’ll be doing!

That’s all for now! I hope to progress much further in on these projects for my next update!

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