It’s now the end of the first week of University in 2013. Christmas was a lot of fun but I’m already enjoying getting stuck into some work.
I’m doing three modules this term that I’m really looking forward to doing. They are Team Project, Graphics II and Application Development.
Team Project is an opportunity for me to create something great as part of a team. The only real directions we have received is to make something impressive (but feasible). The project doesn’t even necessarily have to be programming based, but as everyone in my Team is studying Computer Games Programming we all really wanted to make a game… So a game it is!
Our team is made up of 6 programmers all in their second year of Games Programming, and from what I could tell from the first meeting we were all looking forward to making something cool.
After talking and getting to know my team mates the type of game that we wanted to make evolved quickly and we settled on making something 2D in Unity. We picked Unity for it’s quick and professional development environment and we decided to go with a 2D game as we don’t have any artist in our team, and programmer art is never a pretty sight.
I found that I was leading the discussion about the different platforms and games that were available for us to work with and make, so I became the team’s Project Manager. This means that I’ve become the point of contact between Dave Voorhis (the lecture for this module) and the rest of the team. It also falls to me to organise our team, help delegate tasks and make sure that this project is done on time to a spectacular standard.
The first thing that I did as Project Manager was set Wednesdays as the day that we would all meet up outside of the scheduled tutor time for this module. We were limited on time as one of the team members has to pick up his child from school in the afternoon so we agreed to meet at 10am every Wednesday and work though until then. I have also collected all of the team members’ email addresses should I need to contact them and made a “todo” list and description of the game and how it will be played on Google Docs.
For now this week the only task on the Todo list is for everyone to lean some Unity! We have a facebook group that people have been posting Unity tutorials in so it looks like things have started smoothly.
I’ll give more information on our project when we have some screen shots and more development news to talk about.
Onto Graphics, I really enjoyed Graphics I last term and I am really looking forward to sinking my teeth into this module. There are three tasks that make up the final grade for Graphics II:
- An 8 page Scientific Paper styled report comparing the two main graphics APIs OpenGL and Direct3D
- A Tech Demo designed to show off my capabilities as a graphics programmer
- And a paired assignment with someone else on the module that should be an extension of the individual demo with intractable objects that uses more advanced rendering techniques.
The report is coming along nicely and with the deadline in week 3. It’s easy to write as a there is more than enough material online thanks to the internet providing the perfect platform for people to ague about everything (Graphics API very much included in this).
The Solo Demo is something that I have wanted to work on for a while. The reason that I got into programming in the first place was to make games, and making a 3D environment that does as many fancy things as possible is exactly what I need to get there. I have already finished an introductory book to DirectX11 and will start on Frank Luna’s Highly recommended DirectX10 book soon as it seems to have a lot more practical techniques in it. I would like to use the DirectX11 version of the book but I don’t have hardware that supports it .
For the paired project we must give a presentation in the last week of term showing off what we have made. I have already teamed up with someone on the course named Elliot, we get on quite well and he seems like a motivated individual so I am looking forward to working closely with him to make something great in a few weeks time.
The grade for Application Development is made up as follows:
40% - Essay
30% – Web Application
30% – Windows 8 Application
In the module handbook (the details of the Essay have not been given yet) We are to write a research paper about the core concepts, issues and technologies involved in developing and deploying a variety of applications.
Okay, this sounds like it is useful stuff, but we are tasked with writing it first, before we have developed and deployed anything. Surely we should write this at the end when we have had to look into these subject areas when developing and deploying our two applications. The other thing that is deeply wrong about this is that more marks are awarded (and therefor must be more important) for being able to write a paper on deploying application than actually being able to build and deploy an application!
I can not wait to leave academia.
For a meager 30% of this modules grade we will have the honor of actually getting to do some programming. We will be using some pretty new tools, we get to use WebMatrix2 and the Azure platform. These are two pretty cool things (but it must not be that important to be able to use a globally salable platform as less than a third of the mark is given for being able to do so).
We’ve not been told much about this project yet, other than we will be using Azure and using some PHP. I’ve done a little PHP before and really enjoyed it so I’m looking forward to it. I’ve checked out Azure a bit as well and it looks like we’ve been given a lot of stuff to tinker around with. We get something along the lines of 2 virtual machines, “Mobile Services”, a few websites, SQL databases and things. Looks like I could make something pretty cool with these tools .
Windows 8 Store App
We have been told even less about this assignment pretty much the only thing that has been said is that we can make a game if we want.
I’ve got Windows 8 on my laptop and computer and it seems pretty nice, but I never use any of the Store Application on it. It could be a cool thing to develop on but I’ll have too see.