Studying never stops…

Even though (as I mentioned many times before), I finished my Masters, there is still a lot that I need to learn. Luckily, there is always Lynda.com and a lot of other free course sites, such as OpenLearn.

I’m still working on my project “Depression Simulator”, which means that aside from the game development aspects of it, I also need to learn other aspects, such as setting up a business and understanding more about depression and mental health.

I signed up to these free courses on OpenLearn and Digital Business Academy:

I also signed up to a class from FutureLearn that hasn’t started yet.

 

And I’m still doing the 21 Day Drawing Challenge on Lynda.com.

 

 

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Making a Game: Video Update 4

In other news, I just handed in everything for my Masters degree and I turned 30.

I’m going to keep working on this game and I have this idea of developing a platform for people to share their stories and talk about their experiences with depression and then I’m going to spend some time making those stories into little puzzle vignettes.

One of the things that I struggle with is having to explain to people what it feels like and hoping that they’d gain a little understanding, but it’s difficult to describe, really. I hope with that added visual and audio element, as well as interaction, they can step into my shoes for a little while.

That’s it for now. I’m still editing the game to make it run on web, as well as start QA and major major bug fixing to have it available for people to actually play.

Making a Game: Making breakfast is harder than it looks

Okay, personal issues aside, I have been making very slow progress with the Kitchen Level. Turns out (yah, like the title of this post suggests) it’s not as easy as I thought it would be (and I haven’t even gotten to coding the actual cooking bits yet!!).

I think because there are actually quite a few elements involved and puzzles inserted here and there to make your lives harder (as if life isn’t difficult enough).

Continue reading “Making a Game: Making breakfast is harder than it looks”

Making a Game: More Bad Days…

Just a quick update about what I have been up to lately.

I also cut up, or at least tried, to cut up some snowflakes for another puzzle.

But then last night I just suddenly felt… Watch the video and you’ll see.

The description on the video is:

This is unedited, which is why I sound like a mess. And even though I mentioned that I was going to include an updated gameplay video, I didn’t. I will upload a gameplay video separately.

I’m sorry, but I decided to upload this anyway, because it exposes a part of me that I rarely show anyone, even my closest friends. But I still needed to say those things, and since the internet is such a big place, the chances of another human being viewing this is actually quite low, it’s like sending out a message in a bottle into the sea. But if anyone hears me, thank you for listening.

Everybody have good days and bad days; the other night was a bad one. When people ask me, "How are you?", I've been programmed to say, "I'm fine." Even though I'm not. Because I'm afraid. I'm afraid to let people see the "imperfect" side of me. The side and the voices in my head that always tells me, "I'm not good enough". Instead of using my voice to tell people that I'm not okay, I'm making a game about depression instead. #depressionsimulator is about a day in the life of someone suffering from depression, have the players walk a while in my shoes and maybe then, they wouldn't be so quick to judge me and others like me. To know more about the game, follow my blog (link in my profile). Are you there, people of the internet? If you hear me, thank you for listening. #depression #mentalhealthawareness #itsokaynottobeokay

A post shared by Michelle Chen (@itsmichellechen) on

And then I had to wake up again this morning and pretend that everything is okay, because my flatmates and I had plans to go to a concert.

The concert was really good. I especially liked the last band, Victories at Sea.

We also went to the Jamaica Festival in Victoria Square for dinner. The jerk chicken tastes and smells amazing. And it’s interesting how smokey the square was from all that grilling.

And tomorrow, I’m going to continue my charade, because I made plans with my classmates to go to another food festival.

Making a Game: Good days and bad days…

First my board…

Oh and I set up a GameJolt page: http://gamejolt.com/games/depressionsimulator/272098

Nothing playable yet. Although, because I did that, I made a header for the game, also it’s now called “Depression Simulator” semi-officially.

Header

Okay about good and bad days…

The point of my game is that sometimes there are good days, and sometimes there are bad days. And they are unpredictable.

Last week was not a good week for me.

But today is the start of a new week, and tomorrow the start of a new month. And also the last month of my Masters program.

Also before I turn 30. Eep! It’s funny how the last day of my program corresponds with my birthday. It was also like that for my undergrad degree actually (that was not a fun day, rushing around getting our thesis one last check, submitting it and saying good bye to a year’s worth of hard work).

Anyway, I added a whole bunch of stuff to my TO DO board, with new ideas I got when I was sleeping. Oh yah, part of my thing, is I sleep a lot, but at least I still generate new game ideas when I do. I just can’t bring myself to get up and actually code them. Yah… that’s a problem.

Also I got a lot more contributions on HitRecord, which are really good and really inspiring and I want to include all of them.

But no, part of production is knowing when to say no to feature creep. Or at least enough to have something playable that can be released at the end of this Module and then keep working on it after.

Here’s to foolishly hoping the rest of the month will only bring me good days.

Making a Game: Choosing to go alone and wearing many hats…

Why did I decide to make a game all on my own… As in own art, own code, own design, not my own sound and music though… Also I have less than 3 months of dev time (only 1 month left…).

I think because at the beginning I didn’t know what I want to do. I just know that I wanted to make a game. What game? No idea. And that’s dangerous territory. And I didn’t want to drag anyone else down with me. It’s not as if I don’t have any artist or code friends that I can bribe. I do, I just didn’t want to bribe them.

It has never been about how I can do everything myself. I mean, I can to some degree, but you know, my art will always be a little programmer art-ish and rough around the edges. My design will reference a lot of existing designs and now tropes. And actually production wise, managing myself is actually… Bad, really bad.

I have problems with motivation. I sleep a lot, and I don’t want to get out of bed ever. But I’m trying. People who don’t understand me and what goes on in my head, will think that I’m lazy. Okay, maybe I am. But it’s more complicated than that.

But choosing to go alone means that I have to wear many hats. Last week I had my programming hat on (which means that I find excuses to go out and not work on it). I am by practice a programmer, but I think of programming or coding for short, as a process, a means to and end (yes, in a Nietzsche manner, I think of the means as pretty bad).

This week I have my artist hat on and I actually don’t have a tablet, I have pencils and paper though. But I actually draw in Flash and I don’t even own a mouse, so it’s just the touch pad of my beat up Macbook Pro, and me, manipulating vector shapes until they resemble something. The whole, the game is only in gray scale helps too, ‘coz color… That’s another hurdle.

Anyway, I am not a fan of GDDs (Game Design Documents), because I don’t believe in design written on paper. You’ll never really know if a game is fun, without playing it. And there’s no way for you to play it unless you have a game. You get it. Rapid Prototyping for the win!

One of my only plus points is that I’m a relatively fast coder. At least once I have a clear idea what I need to create. So with this whole no GDD thing, it’s actually a lot of experimentation and a lot of trial and error. And that’s alright, because whatever code I scrap is well, my code, and I have no hard feelings.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, because I work alone, it is tough at times, but at least the only person that I’m letting down is myself.

Although for this project, I’m not entirely alone, I actually have a HitRecord project where I do ask for ideas from other people. So when I do get stuck, I just issue another challenge and the lovely people contributes and I am inspired again, and I keep moving.

Also since this game is about depression and having more voices make it better and in a way in makes me feel less alone. Because I know now that other people also go through the same thing and other people can beat it. So, so could I.

One month to go! Good luck to me~!

Random Note: “Haunt” by Echos describes how I feel everyday quite accurately.

Continue reading “Making a Game: Choosing to go alone and wearing many hats…”