Meeting and Intentions
At the start of this week, I had a meeting with my tutor to discuss the progress I had made at that point. He pointed out that I should have made more progress than this and I completely agree with him especially given the scope of this project. However there are many reasons for this and those were discussed.
A big piece of advice that he presented me with was to really narrow down and try to specify and focus on those aspects of the game that I want to be showing off at the end of the project. Also, we had a talk about what it is that I am trying to show off and develop.
As a part of this conversation I was able to explain something to him about my intentions for the project and what I wanted to test out. A normality that you would see with Final Year Projects is that they tend to specialise on one specific area of focus i.e. terrain generation, VR, Graphics Rendering etc. Instead, what I have decided to do take a slightly alternative approach. Instead of focusing on one specific element of the game such as the car racing mechanics. I have opted to try and build a game from scratch putting into practise the skills that I acquired during my time on placement. The placement which I went on was more of a technical / project management placement rather than it being directly a programming / software development placement which is what student on my course or similar courses tend to go on.
One of my interests moving towards the time when I finish university is that I want to be involved in managing projects alongside being involved in the trenches of development of a project. I believe that this will give me two set of skills simultaneously which can open up many avenues of opportunity for me later on down the line.
So to give clarification on my intentions for this project. I want to show the ability to take and idea and make it a reality by making decisions on the management of the project i.e. stripping off certain elements, focusing on core aspects, outsourcing where useful (Purchasing assets) etc and then iterating and improvising as I go along. Another factor that could be said that I am testing is, the ability to manage time and finances. As I am working in a specific timeframe and also as I am working with my student budget with the goal of a working game. It is my responsibility to ask myself which elements are going to be time costly and therefore require money being spent on them in order to free my time and which things are not so time costly that I can work on myself completely and save money on these aspects. With a budget of roughly 1000GBP I have to make sure that the assets I purchase are necessary else I will be wasting money. I can already say that I have made bad decision on spending my money towards the project but at the same time I have made good decisions on spending money on the project. Every element of this project is a learning curve for me which I can take as real-life experience to whatever I decide to work on after this project or wherever I decide to work.
Other elements that I can begin focusing on for the game are factors such as marketing the game, working with other people within my budget. This is a real-task in itself but these aspects are fundamental to the success of any project. Therefore, by the end of the project not only to I want a product to show, but I want my efforts on all the other parts of the development and what I learnt at each stage to improve the way that I carry out this project to be shown at the end.
There are many developers out there, but sometimes companies need one who is aware of all aspects and can get involved in all aspects of a project. I hope to be able to show some of these skills through evidence by the end of the project.
At the end of last week I stated that I wanted to focus more on the racing mechanics of the game in particular it was related to the circuit racing track. Having said all of that, this week I didn’t exactly work on those mechanics in particular. The reason being is that I have found and got working another racing car asset that has particularly helped me in being able to have a working car in the main Middlesbrough map. I have rigged all of the cars that I am to be using for the prototype with the racing kit.
Another feature that I have been working on is the mini-map / UI Map on the Middlesbrough map. I have got a mini-map / UI map up and running. From the mini-map, the camera follows the user around the map giving them an outline of the surrounding areas. Also on this mini-map I have added a test point of interest which is displayed by a home like icon. This is to be used within the game to show to the users what points of interest are available on the map and through this they can drive around to the desired place and interact with that segment of the game. Currently the whole game is working with keyboard features and as I have explained, I need this to be modified to mobile controls. However for now, when the E key is pressed, the mini-map expands to become a bigger world map from which the user can use the mouse to scroll around to see what is available on the map. One feature that is currently working on the map is that the Home icon pulsates and can also have a ring around it. I want to modify this so that this happens when the user clicks on the icon so that all of the other icons that haven’t been selected are static and this one pulsates.
Another feature that I have started working on is a dealership from which the user is to purchase the cars from. Now currently the cars display and I am able to click through them. However, I want to make this better in many ways such have the cars categorised in some way. The cars also need to have their specifications displayed when the user scrolls through the cars. Each of the cars are to have a price tag, this is yet to be determined. Going back to the Middlesbrough map, when the user gets to the home icon location it changes the scene to the dealership scene.
I have also added a mini-map to the circuit race. It needs to be modified in design to fit the theme of the game but that needs to be done across all areas of the game.
Now before going onto developing all the other races and elements, I came to the conclusion that I need to get all of the different game element variables in place for them to be edited, saved, obtained during the relevant state of the game. Therefore as a part of this, I documented which elements I will require for each of the parts of the game. Now this data I want to do two things with it which could help the user to be able to continue with the game whether they be online or offline. On one hand I want some of the data to be stored in a database and on the other hand I will be storing the data on the users local device.
Now the way that I imagine the game, is that I would like the user to have a certain elements from when they initially start the game. And there for in order to do this I would need to look at the login mechanism of the game.
Moving forward, I have decided that I will focus on the login mechanism to the game and ensuring that this is linked to the server etc. Once this is in place, I intend to go onto creating a GameManager system and a singleton class that handles relevant methods which are to be used all over the game. The GameManager is also to handle states such as the main menu, pause menu etc.
Aside from this I have been looking at assets that will support the likes of the menu system and also I have purchased a player preferences asset that allows for me to be able to store a bigger variety of data compared to what Unity allows. I will be spending more time looking at these when I have reached the stage where I can focus on the aesthetic side of things.
One big lesson that I have learnt about the development of a whole game as a project is that, no matter how much you want to focus on one specific element. You end up navigating your focus to other elements simply because it doesn’t make sense to continue in your current direction up until you have integrated other elements. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle where you are finding the pieces that fit all over the place, but in the end the picture starts to reveal itself bit by bit.