Monday, 14 April 2014

Life Changing or Career Building?

As the games industry is constantly changing and developing, it is often hard to know what to teach students on specialist courses to go into the games industry. It is hard to keep up with what the industry is doing, but there surely are skills that are always going to be necessary.
As most students join these courses with little or no 3D modelling experience, so it is something that undoubtedly needs to be taught. It takes time to learn new software and get used to the pipelines and processes of 3D art. Unlike traditional artistic skill, learning 3D is more of a mechanical process. 

You can learn pretty much learn anything if you invest enough time and effort into it however. With a structured learning course and being surrounded by similar minds looking to learn similar thinks, the rate or learning can be accelerated. For example, sat on your own trying to learn 3D studio max can be a daunting task, but when in an environment surrounded by people working towards the same goal, you all learn it easier and collectively.

But what is necessary to succeed in the games industry? Often learning the technical side (once you have a basic grasp of 3D modelling) is a case of doing a little research and practising. Learning core traditional skills takes a lot longer, and will serve you much better in the long run. Technology is constantly changing, but with great traditional skills, they can be transferred no matter what the situation. 
Game developers will look for employees who have strong 2D skills as well as technical skills. Flexibility of style is also important, as in smaller companies you may be expected to work on various different projects in various different styles. 

I think that a strong foundation in traditional skills is very important but having the technical skills is necessary to take on a job in industry. It varies on your role, some jobs need more traditional skill than technical. For example if you are working on developing a game environment, you are all well and good having some well made sound assets, but if you have no understanding of composition or other traditional skills, you will find the overall environment will look disjointed and wrong. 

I think one of the strongest things about my course is that we are very much based in 2D, our fundamental skills are in observation, composition, perspective, etc. But then we also get to learn a lot about 3D modelling, game engines, sculpting, etc. We treat 3D as an extension of our core 2D skills.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Interactivity design

Companies are always trying to find ways to innovate and involve the player more with the game. They want them to interact more and create a bigger sense of immersion.
Motion control has been on the rise over the last few years with the PS2 introducing the ‘Eye toy’, Nintendo creating a whole console around the use of the Wii Motion controller, and moving on to the Wii U. Microsoft and Sony have been playing around with the Kinect and Move.

The Wii U features a touchscreen pad which can supplement or replicate the television.  For example, when playing Mario the pad gets the maps as well as having the playable area on the television screen. For first person shooters you can buy plastic replica guns that the Wii Motion controllers slot into, which requires you to use it to aim and shoot the targets.  Using it like an actual gun.
This is all very interesting, but since its release it shows that people are less into the physical exhaustion to play a game and opt for the sofa and a bowl of crisps.
Playing an aircraft simulator, you a buy a joystick, because pilots use those right?  You buy s racing wheel to play a racing game (or truck driving simulator in my boyfriends case) and pedals and a gear stick. Devices like these were popular because they were accurate to the game and helped immersion.  Things like rumble controllers have a similar appeal, they just add that bit more depth to the playing experience.
This kind of interactivity is quickly getting out dated, with technology moving at record paces there are new exciting things coming out all the time. The most exciting and relevant at this moment in time is most certainly the Oculus Rift.

The Rift is an upcoming 
virtual reality head-mounted display, being developed by Oculus VR. During its period as an independent company, Oculus VR had raised US$91 million for the development of the Rift.’ - Wikipedia

So with so much money being pumped into this project it hold a lot of potential. It allows the player to actually be within the game, there have been many interesting and exciting examples of its use over the internet, my personal favourite being;

The Oculus in addition with omni treadmill seems to be the most exciting and most immersive gaming platform to date. The potential for them both will give a really immersive experience (even if you might look a little bit silly!