Saturday, 8 January 2011

Personal Development


So as my Professional Practice module comes to a close, so must my blog, and with it I need to write a reflective summary of my 'journey' thus far. This doesn't mean to say I will stop blogging, but once I submit it as coursework next week, it will probably be the same situation that I had with my website in as much that I probably wont be allowed to edit/add to it until external examination has been completed, which is May/June. So I wont be able to blog until then. Who knows, maybe I'll resume blogging once the external examination process is complete, but then again, maybe by then I might have landed my first job (nothing wrong with being optimistic, right?), only time will tell.

Anyway, that aside, let me begin my reflective summary. I found this module to be particularly useful in as much that it not only provided me with a vast amount of industry insight that I didn't previously have, but it has also helped me gear myself up better for when the time comes to begin applying for jobs. Throughout the course of this module there have been successes, and failures, but that's what it's all about.


As far as success stories go, they aren't stories about how I "got a job offer" or even an "internship offer", they are much smaller, and more of a personal success. The first of which was the completion of my website. I had been meaning to complete it for quite some time now, and having it set as a coursework just gave me that final motivational nudge that I needed to get it done. With that online, I now have a name for myself, and a means to show people who I am, and what I can do, not to mention the fact that I now have a portfolio to show potential employers, so I like to think of that as a small success.

Another positive ‘chapter’ in my on-going story, was meeting the team at Splash Damage when working at Eurogamer Expo to help them demo Brink. I talked to different members of the team throughout the course of the day, and they gave me tips/pointers on what employers would be looking for, and general encouragement. At the end of the day, we exchanged business cards, and they said if anything came up, they'd try to let us know. So that's another success, I now have a couple of contacts inside the industry that I can get in touch with.

Following on from that comes a 'failure', and that was when I actually applied to Splash Damage. For all other companies, I had just been adding them to a list that I will refer to when I am ready to start applying. Splash Damage was different however, given that I met the team, I wanted to follow that up as soon as possible so that they didn't forget me. So shortly after the Eurogamer Expo, I sent them an informal email, in an attempt to find out if there was anything available; with this I also sent my CV and a covering letter. However despite this, I haven't heard from them yet, but I don't hold it against them. They are a great team, and a great bunch of people, and I understand that when I applied, perhaps they just weren't looking for someone, so I don't feel disheartened, I just realise that the next time I apply, I'll be sure I'm ready in the event that I get a chance to show them what I can really do.


So what is my plan for the future? Well it's quite simple really, first and foremost I plan on finishing my degree, after all, with a degree to my name, I'll at least have more of a chance of making it to the interview room. Alongside this, I plan on expanding my portfolio with a mixture of both my university projects, and my projects I do outside university. I also plan on working especially hard on the level design side of my portfolio given that when it comes down to it, if I could start work as a graduate/junior level designer over a programmer, then I'd definitely do so. Once my degree is complete, my portfolio should be much more impressive, with almost twice as much content as it currently has, and with that at my disposal, I'll be ready to apply for real. In addition to that I am forever trying to network where possible, in turn building up my contacts; after all “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”.

On completing my degree I'll be sure to get in touch with the contacts I currently have first, seeing as that is an immediate advantage if I don't have to go through the normal employment channels. I will also be sure to apply to all the companies I have kept a record of even if I don’t know whether or not I am fully qualified; after all, there is only one way to certify something you are unsure of, and that is to try.

And on that note, I will draw this to a close. It has been fun blogging these past few months, and as I said, perhaps I'll resume in June, but until then, take it easy~!


Saturday, 1 January 2011

Top 5 Most Anticipated Games of 2011

So it's finally here, 2011, and with it comes a huge line up of amazing games, so I figured I'd take the time to list my top 5 most anticipated games for this year.


The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword
The Legend of Zelda series is my favourite game series, and The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time is my favourite game of all time, so it's only natural that i'd be excited for Skyward Sword. I really like the new visual style, and the new improved controls are going to make playing this on the Wii that much more enjoyable. I had a chance to briefly test the game out at Eurogamer Expo last year, and I liked what I saw, so here's hoping it can only get better. I just hope that they make this game a bit longer, and up the difficulty level a bit, because Twilight Princess was a bit too easy.

Tomb Raider
Tomb Raider is a series I have been a fan of for a long time, and I started the series right from the very first Tomb Raider game and have been a fan ever since. Admittedly I have missed out a couple of them, namely the Angel of Darkness, and the most recent Tomb Raider Underworld, but I plan on playing through Underworld soon. However my main reason for being excited about this new Tomb Raider is that it is a reboot of the series, so it gives the developers a chance to build Lara Croft right up from the start, and I am really looking forward to seeing what they are going to do with the series, and what new directions they are going to take.

Metal Gear Solid Rising
I am a latecomer to the Metal Gear Solid series, given that my first MGS game was MGS4, but after playing that and realising what I have been missing out on, I will be sure to follow the series from here on out. With that in mind, I am most definitely excited about MGS Rising. When playing MGS4, although not playable, Raiden was one of my favourite characters, so the fact that I get to play as Raiden in MGS Rising is an immediate selling point.

Uncharted 3 Drake's Deception
Having followed Nathan Drake through the jungles, and the frozen mountains, I am looking forward to seeing what his next desert adventure will hold. I hope that they improve the multiplayer component in Uncharted 3, because multiplayer in number 2 was fun, but didn't hold me for very long, so it'd be nice if they added a bit more depth to it. But that would be a mere bonus, given that I play Uncharted for its epic stories, so I am looking forward to seeing the story behind the title, "Drake's Deception".

I first saw Brink back at Eurogamer 2009 when I attended their first stage demo, where they showed off early footage of the game, and gave us an insight into what they were trying to achieve. I then saw much more, and had a chance to demo the game, at Eurogamer 2010 and I was very impressed with what I saw. I am especially looking forward to playing the co-op campaign, given that it can have up to 8 players, which should make for an awesome experience.

Additional Mentions
There are a couple of things that didn't make it into the Top 5, and that is not because they don't deserve to be there, because they definitely do, but it's for a couple of other reasons.


Nintendo 3DS
Seeing as the 3DS is a console, I figured it should stand apart from my "Top 5 Most Anticipated Games", and that's why it appears as an additional mention. Also, it goes without saying that if I'm excited about the 3DS then I'm obviously going to be excited for the games it is going to have, especially the Ocarina of Time remake. Still trying to decide between the Red and Black, or the All Black version, but either way, I can't wait till March for this to come out.

The Last Guardian
And as for Last Guardian, although it has been slated for Q4 2011, it hasn't been given an official release date yet, and that's why I didn't put it in the Top 5, but I am still really looking forward to this game.

So that's it, that is my top 5 most anticipated games of 2011. Naturally there are a whole load of other games that I am looking forward to, but once again, there are only 5 spaces in a "Top 5".