Case Study Video
When I saw the course Indie Game Development, it instantly sparked my interest as I had spent the last two years trying to get into the games industry as a self-taught concept artist without prevail. The covid pandemic forced me to make the leap after losing my job at the end of October, my goal at the beginning of the course was to work as an artist within the games industry, what type of artist I did not know yet. This first module would give me the opportunity to try out all these various art roles, from concept art to technical art which will allow me to create smart goals for the rest of the course. In the first week of the course, I set up a club on our discord server that took place every Saturday where I would come together with my cohort to practice art for a couple of hours and discuss our work, which helped me make extra time to learn.
Game jams and rapid ideation
Over the past 12 weeks I have taken part in two Game Jams around my studies, the first being the Global Game Jam, where I was the only artist on the team which was great as I had the opportunity to create assets, UI art and rig characters. This was a great way to learn and get real time experience of making games. However, Austin Martin says “what really makes learning stick? For adult learners, practicality, applicability, and repetition are key.” (Martin, 2006) This was my excuse for doing a second game jam straight after our two rapid ideation sprints as I knew I needed the repetitive work of a Jam to push my learning within my field. I took part in the Ludum Dare 48 with other Indie Game Developers from the course. We were way too ambitious on the size of the build for the project which left the project unfinished, however I saw a huge improvement in my art which was great. On both game jams I did find myself consumed by imposter syndrome, I looked back at positive feedback from my first rapid ideation project to motivate me.
The two Rapid Ideation projects were great as I placed myself two different goals to achieve for both, the first one was to look at the art pipeline to create a character from concept to final 3d model. The art pipeline “is used to describe the streamlined process of development and production. It is broken down into four major categories, each with their own very specific set of steps. The phases are concept, design, pre-production, and postproduction." (Elonka, 2006) I found this of great value to me as I was able to try out many different art forms and get my own opinion on each. I enjoyed the concept art and 3d sculpting side of this first project.
Research and S.M.A.R.T goals
The second Rapid Ideation would be completely different for me as I was working with the Unity engine and creating animations through script also known as procedural animation. Procedural animation is vital in the games industry as it helps overcome complicated game situations such as getting characters to look at each other or allowing characters to traverse uneven terrain. A great example of this is the use of it in ‘The Last Guardian’. Masanobu animation director from The Last Guardian says, “His description of Procedural Animation was any motion that was automatically generated using mathematical expressions, scripts & pre-entered data, etc” (Themando, 2018) The goals for Rapid Ideation two were bringing a character into Unity and learning more about C# scripting in Visual Studio.
Considering I have done all this work over these past 12 weeks I have learned a lot about my strengths but also my weaknesses. “Knowing your own strengths and weaknesses gives you a better understanding of yourself and how you function.” (Pillay, 2014) My weaknesses that need developed include perspective, shader design, weight painting, C# coding and retopology and those are only some of which I have discovered. I would like to turn these weaknesses into strengths over the coming year.
Now that I know my weaknesses and what I enjoyed over the past 12 weeks, I can now develop three smart goals to work off for the rest of the course. My first goal is to develop my team working skills I can do this through doing more Game Jams and working in teams in the coming modules. My second and main goal is to develop a Technical Artist skillset and portfolio which I can do by reading Job descriptions to understand what is to be asked of me as well as finding a mentor through LinkedIn of someone who I admire within this type of role. My third and final goal to achieve between now and the end of the course is to get an internship in games to allow me to get my foot in the door.
Martin, A., 2006. Repetitive Spaced Out Learning: Making Learning Stick. [online] The Daily Mindflash. Available at: <https://mindflash.com/blog/repetitive-learning-making-learning-stick> [Accessed 11 May 2021].
Pillay, H., 2014. Why It’s Important To Know Your Strengths And Weaknesses. [online] Leaderonomics.com. Available at: <https://www.leaderonomics.com/articles/personal/why-its-important-to-know-your-strengths-and-weaknesses#:~:text=Knowing%20your%20own%20strengths%20and,yourself%20and%20how%20you%20function.&text=Knowing%20your%20weaknesses%20gives%20you,your%20weaknesses%20pull%20you%20behind.> [Accessed 11 May 2021].
Themando, B., 2018. The Last Guardian: Procedural Animation. [online] Game Anim. Available at: <https://www.gameanim.com/2018/01/24/last-guardian-procedural-animation/> [Accessed 11 May 2021].
人喰いの大鷲トリコ スタッフ特別座談会 第四回(プロシージャルアニメーションの解説). 2018. [video] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkrx7AlPGIo: genDesign.
Elonka, 2006. Art pipeline. [online] En.wikipedia.org. Available at: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_pipeline#:~:text=Art%20pipeline%20is%20basically%20the,%2Dproduction%2C%20and%20post%20production.> [Accessed 4 March 2021].