Monthly Archives: August 2013

Index 0 : The Beginning

Welcome to my professional blog for graduate studies as a game engineering student in the Entertainment Arts and Engineering Master Games Studio.  My goal is to update this blog before leaving the lab each day to convey my progress and struggles.  Let me start by sharing my experiences from the first week of classes.

August 27, 2013 – Tuesday

Upon arriving in the lab around 8:30 AM I found that there were a large number of fellow students in the program already in the lab.  There was a lot of excitement in the room.  Our first class of the day was “Rapid Prototyping”.  The course involves separating into project groups consisting of students from the  producer, artist and engineering tracks.  The project group creates a prototype to meet the needs of a client utilizing the skill sets of each track and student.  The development cycle for the prototype last one month with four development cycles for the entire class.

Our project for the first development cycle is to create a mobile game that appeals to females between the ages of twenty five and fifty.  The engineers were given the restriction that they are to use LUA and the MOAI SDK.  The experience of learning a new language while creating a mobile game is beneficial since in industry developers are expected to learn new technologies as required by the project.

My team consist of two producers, an artist and two engineers including myself.  We brainstormed games that fit the needs of the client.  The game idea we voted on and decided to move forward with was a variant of Portal and Lemmings.  I expect the process to become more smooth as we gain more experience in the game design process.

There is a five hour break between classes, so I spent the extra time familiarizing myself with LUA and MOAI.  I worked through the tutorial entitled “Rocket Lobster” on the MOAI SDK website at http://getmoai.com/wiki/index.php?title=Your_First_Game_:_Rocket_Lobster.  The result was the “Atari’s Missile Command” clone shown on the website and a knowledge of handling threads, event handlers, rendering and collisions using MOAI.  I spent the remaining time playing with the language and SDK.

The second class of the day was C++ Game Programming.  The dominant theme of the class was how to use SVN.  I have a better understanding of SVN versus the other version control systems I have used in the past.  The version control systems I have used in the past include GIT, CM+ and CVS.

August 28, 2013 – Wednesday

There were no morning classes.  I spent the morning working on a creative project using LUA and MOAI.  The project was to create a physics simulation where multiple balls can be created.  On left clicking the balls all move toward the clicked location which causes collisions among the balls.  I was able to get the ball spinning in code to denote a rolling motion stopping when the ball finished moving.  The physics for collisions needs a lot of work in order to work properly.  I wrote the code for collisions.  Since doing so I have read that MOAI support Box2D and Chipmunk which handle physics.  I would like to attempt using the physics engines MOAI supports to create an air hockey or billiards game.

In the evening I went to the class “Game Design 1”.  The instructor was at a conference, but left a movie for us to watch.  The movie was entitled, “Get Lamp”.  The concept was about the interactive fiction games of the early 1980’s.  Among the game titles mentioned in the movie were “Colossal Caves”, “Adventure” and “Zork”.  The movie explored the rise and fall of the genre.  My takeaway from the movie is as developers we need to respond to changes in the market even if that requires a new skill set.  There is also a market for engaging stories and hard puzzles.

August 29, 2013 – Thursday

The day started with the class “Rapid Prototyping”.  Our project groups were to present their game ideas to the clients.  The students in the engineering track left early to visit EA Salt Lake.  Visiting EA Salt Lake was a fun experience and I hope to return possibly as an intern.  After leaving EA Salt Lake we were allowed to do whatever we wanted.  I went back to the game studio/lab on campus and talked with the other engineer on my project team.  We have concerns about the design that we will need to work out with the rest of the team.  I sent an e-mail to the team addressing the concerns.

August 30, 2013 – Friday

I have started my blog.  The result is this post.  I assume that most my post will not be this long since I will only be covering one day.  I look forward to keeping this blog up-to-date and worthwhile.  I will also try to get more images on the blog.  Reading is hard.

In closing I have been enjoying the graduate program in EAE (Entertainment Arts and Engineering).  There will be a lot of learning over the course of the next two years.  Evidence of such learning is shown by the need to learn LUA and MOAI on our first project.