We're approaching the last few days of year 2 and being able to look back I can say I have the feeling
I've learned a lot more this year than last year. Where last year it was mostly about the basics that I already knew I noticed this year was more about being independence, artistic judgment and getting stuff done. This of course didn't happen without some blood sweat and tears ( or as we games artist can say: Energy drink, sleepless nights and lack of social contact)
Through the year I've improved my Visual design. I've gotten a lot more confident about my skills and started to understand things more easily and even decided to go over things or completely redo them.
I decided to redo my Bradgate park final as I wasn't happy with the composition for example and had the feeling I improved too much over time so I could better do it over.
I also improved my Leicester final piece quite a bit.
3D as well. I didn't think I would make such a jump but starting during the summer I've started to research and focus more on specific area's to improve my knowledge. Texturing as well as the technical side of UDK have been improved and I enjoy them more than ever. Obviously University has played a big role in this. The assignments weren't always as fun but gave me the opportunity to experiment and reach small achievements. Things like mis understanding the summer assignment ( make a level out of 15k tri's ) proved to be a big challenge but was definitely a great success.
The groups project as well, I didn't imagine it to be such a learning experience and even though I hated almost every minute of it, it has shown me a lot of things. I do think the group project took too long and would have preferred to have had maybe another project ( treasure chest ?? ) Another thing that would have possibly been a good improvement would have been a decent balance in groups and some personal feedback through the project where it now felt like being thrown in the deep. Which obviously can be a good thing but there's a risk of drowning that not everyone is comftable with. So by giving a little guidance I think some of the problems could have been prevented. On the other side because of this I've made a lot of mistakes I know won't make again and learned how to work more efficient.
A few examples would be
- Don't bother making levels out of BSP's in UDK they bug out like mad and will take more of your time trying to fix them than when you'd make it in 3DS MAX.
- When making a level in UDK apparently you can't go below the 0. the player will clip and the level will restart after a few seconds.
- How to work to scale
And how to approach a project like this.
After next year I hope University will have given me enough time to have a good portfolio, more confidence ( already achieved) , a better artistic judgment and a more mature attitude ( lots of work to do on this ) When I started university I thought everything would get taught and I would more or less get better lesson by lesson but now with this year it made me realize that even though I was doing self studies before the only way forward is by learning things yourself. People can hand you knowledge on a plate but it's often easier to learn by doing and mistake especially considering after next year we'll have to learn extra skills to keep up anyway. The way this course is structured is quite solid and achieves these things. But before that..... summer !