Week Two – Walkthrough & Reflection

This week has been a bit of a busy one.

Using the idea generation I had created on the Friday of Week One as a springboard, I set about choosing the most interesting and thought provoking topics from each of the mindmaps I had then made.

 

The end result was this; four interesting terms branching off from each of the original “idea trees” I had come up with last week. These were:

  • Dystopia – Oppression, Inequality, Ruin, Morality
  • Mental Breakdown – Escapism, Terror, Insanity, Existential Crisis
  • Supernatural – Paranormal, Hallucination, Desperation, Boogeyman
  • Future – Overpopulation, Escape Velocity, Apocalypse, Colonisation

This was a good step forward; all of a sudden I had sixteen potential research avenues to explore, and I had a rather good spectrum of different topics and ideas – all of which I found interesting to me to some degree. Now it was just a matter of having a small but thorough look into each word to give me an idea of how research into it would look, and then deciding on one of each of the four subtopics to take forward. My overall task for the next two weeks was to come up with four compelling words/phrases to then present to my peers for the final selection process, and so this method of short-but-sweet research would allow me to achieve that and get a good look at each of the topics I had selected.

I managed to get through eight of the subtopics this week; the ones derived from Mental Breakdown and Supernatural. It was an interesting process, diving into each of the terms research-wise – mainly because it succeeded in giving me a really good idea of what avenues each of the words would go down. The research also did something I found rather surprising – in the end it led me to pick words to take forward that initially I was reluctant to do so. For Mental Breakdown for instance, I had my heart set on Escapism before I began research, and didn’t think anything could sway me. But by the end, I had selected Existentialism instead as I found it far more intriguing and indeed thought provoking when I began researching it than Escapism.

In addition to honing potential research avenues, this week we also had a rather engrossing tech workshop with James. I don’t usually talk about them here if they don’t really relate to the overall project, but this week James introduced a very interesting side project that I felt was really worth mentioning; for much of the semester our task was to pick something code-wise that we wanted to learn or touch up on some of the C# techniques we had learned in year one or two. For my side project, I chose a particular game mechanic from an E3 trailer that I had found intriguing.

As you can see in the video (if for some reason it didn’t resume where it should have, go to 8:34) while running along the character seamlessly grabs a bottle and throws it at a bad guy’s head. While seemingly insignificant, this mechanic is actually incredibly cool. Usually in games you run about and maybe you see something you can pick up, so you run towards it and have to then stop running so that the icon for picking it up appears, at which point you press “E” or triangle or whatever and the character then picks it up. In this trailer however, the game allows you to not only pick up an item while moving rapidly (with little to no icons coming up too) but throw it as well, which marks a pretty solid step forward in both animation techniques and coding. For that reason, I decided that my task for the semester was going to be attempting to at least learn and possibly recreate that mechanic. Who knows, if I manage to actually learn it, it might be a useful mechanic that I can use for my main project game. And at the very least, it’s a cool idea that I want to know more about.

The rest of the week was then mostly dedicated to continuing with my research and selecting more terms to take forward. As of right now I have two of the four ready to go (Existentialism and Trepidation) and the majority of next week will be spent on the final two words. We did also have a workshop based around simulations, where we were tasked with in groups coming up with a simulation-based “board game” generated from some lifestyle magazines we had been given. The results were some very wacky and odd games (particularly ours – I won’t go into detail about that abomination) but fun was had, and overall I did find the speaker’s insights quite interesting as well as the whole topic of simulations.

Next week then I will hopefully have my four researched words by Friday (Dystopia and Future still to do), at which point I will present them to my peers and by the end of the week I should have a final word selected to take forward into the deep research process.

 

Reflection On The Week

Overall this week was rather useful; I managed to complete a fair chunk of the research I had planned, coming up with two of the four words I need for the end of next week. I found the research process itself quite insightful, primarily because in the end it led me to choose words to take forward that I otherwise would not have bothered with. The research also gave me a deeper understanding of the topics the words represented, and because of that I have discovered a fair few more potential research avenues with each word that I otherwise would not have thought of.
The workshops I took part in this week were also very useful, particularly James’ as it allowed me to choose a mechanic I had found very interesting in the E3 presentations to look deeper into and try to really understand. If I am successful, it will more than likely be an interesting bit of code to know as well as a potentially useful mechanic in my main project or even in future projects when I venture out into the world of work. The simulation workshop was also rather interesting, and I definitely felt some of the speaker’s insights into the topic were intriguing and so overall improved my understanding of it as well as my interest.
All-in, Week Two has been a pretty good one, and I have made some good progress towards my main project.

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