After my degree I knew I was going to head towards Birmingham to start my next step in my education and my preparation for work in the games industry. What I was not expecting to happen was to move to Derby within a week, it has been an exciting journey and nice to settle into a new city I hadn’t even visited before. It’s a welcome change from Wales, there is more going on in my new city that matches my interests and I have good friends nearby. Consequently I have not spent the summer as intended and have instead been settling into a nice new house and exploring the nearby area. At the start of August it felt as if I had all the time in the world to do that, but it has gone by very quickly and I have just finished my first proper week of my MSc.
Gamer Camp at Birmingham City Uni is worth every penny of the large loan and the 6am starts every morning so far. After some ups and downs on my undergrad degree I feel energised again after the first week here. The workload is very different from the very creative focused undergrad degree, and the pacing already feels similar to my BTEC when it was at it’s peak. (I had a fantastic tutor during that course who pushed us to do a lot more than was asked of us!) I was very busy on the BTEC course and found that the fast pace and intensive work schedule something I thrived on. It is something that I am going to have to get used too again! 🙂
As with all my varied education/work experiences none of it has ever been in vain, there is always a lesson to learn from every encounter and every experience. As I recover from a nasty bout of ‘freshers flu’ I keep that in mind as the next year is going to be an intense one!
However I will be unable to post about my Gamer Camp work here, as there will be live briefs being worked on and a public progress blog will not be appropriate. Instead I shall endeavour to ensure that this blog is updated with any work done outside of my course and other gaming industry related thoughts as and when I have the time to do so.
It is now two weeks into term, and I have been fairly busy, what with the awesome Women in Games Jobs Conference last week and catching up with my old friend Angie it almost feels as if there has been no time for University. Yet me and my project partner Niomi have been working every spare moment on our final major project, and I have been having many meetings about my Dissertation with various tutors at Uni, as well as trying to get the large amount of writing I have done for it into some semblance of order!
All this of course has involved a lot of organising obviously, and its my favourite part of the year, it’s where I get to plan ahead and think about all the things that need to be done and sort out the most efficient and fun way of doing them. 🙂 This has its advantages and disadvantages of course as there is always a point where you need to stop organising and start doing, and it is a trap that I have fallen into in the past, but not this time as there has been a lot of doing!
This is mainly evidenced by the work that me and Niomi have done on our final major project at the moment, codenamed “Telling the Tales of Old” we have already sorted out the main chunk of our game idea, half a of the vast chunk of the necessary research has been done and we have set up the required blog and site to record all our hard work. We may have bitten off more than we can chew with this one, but we are enjoying the challenge. At the moment we are keeping everything under wraps until the Design Documentation has been handed in and we are working on the main prototype.
Due to all the coming and going and long hours working today has been a day off and I have been playing NiGHTS on the Playstation (not something I ever thought I would type!) and generally chilling out. But the organisation bug is a hard one to shake, so now I find myself at a late hour writing up blog posts and trying to sort out my business cards for GameCity 7 on Moo.com.
It seems that even on a dedicated to a day off I can’t help but work a little…a good thing and a bad thing I suppose, but at the start of the year and a project like the one I’m working on it is nice to have that flexibility right now. It’s like looking at a mountain in the distance…it all seems fairly easy to get there at this stage, but soon I will be at the foot of it wondering how to get up the steep hill, then there will the part were I am on the steep hill and will not be able to stop and start as I feel and just have to work hard and carry on. 🙂 (I may also have been listening to Austin Wintory’s Journey soundtrack a bit too much while writing!)
Anyway for now back to the finishing touches of my business card and then onto writing up my trip to London.
So far this summer I have spent a lot of time relaxing, not thinking, playing games, seeing family, reading books and generally pottering about the house and my computer. Having a spring clean of sorts around the place and re-installing and customising my laptop to get everything running as I would like so I am not tempted to tweak things as I go through the second year.
As nice it has been to have a summer completely off, the first one since sometime in 2000 I think, it has also made me fall into the procrastination trap. With the third year now here it is time to get out of that trap! After some much poking around on the University website I found the Summer Brief for the third years, it was not easy to find so I wonder if anyone else has found it as I don’t recall any e-mails about it up either. But then it appears that the Uni are upgrading a lot of their computer systems so I think a few things may have gotten lost.
Yet that is neither here nor there, realising that I need to have a draft copy of my dissertation and a game pitch for my final year project ready and written before term starts around the end of September certainly lit a fire under me and I now have the obligatory pile of books back on my desk rather than little craft projects, and I am re-reading my proposal again and realising that my dissertation topic might not work after the reading I have been doing on and off during the summer.
So in an effort to help focus and write my dissertation I decided to take the plunge and start writing about my ideas on this blog, a lot of my fellow students seem to think that it is a bad idea putting anything online for fear it will get stolen or copied. This has rubbed off on me a bit I think, but at the same time I do not see how else in today’s market you are to get yourself out there and known. The internet is a powerful tool that can be a great source of help as well as a hindrance. (Specifically the ‘Explore’ tab on Google Reader!) 🙂
So here goes, to the third year and hopefully beyond!