Term 2 Approaches Like a Storm

Term 2! Term 2! So much to do!

If you know what I’m cheering about, congratulations, because I don’t (yet). After the happy-fun-bonding times of Term 1, where we had relatively few assignments and spent hours playing Super Mario Bros. WiiU (which, by the way, is fabulous, and I encourage everyone to check it out from the Resources room… if our class hasn’t taken it already), Term 2 is like a road into darkness.

I don’t mean to be ominous or anything, but when there are instructors approaching you with warnings about the increased workload, you start to worry. We’ve seen first-hand what Term 2 does to people, too. The class before us, Game Design class 32, started it off cheerily enough, popping into our room to say hi on a near-daily basis. Then they began to disappear. We’d pack up to leave at 10 pm, and find them in the kitchen, preparing for an all-nighter — and that was only half-way through! Spottings of Moustafa grew fewer. The circles under their eyes grew darker. (But we love you, GD32!)

GD33

“But you don’t even have anything due until Week 3!

Yeah, well, have you heard of procrastination? I don’t doubt that a few of us will wait until the night before to do some of the assignments, but I’d also like to believe we have more sense than that.

Also, no homework doesn’t mean we’re just prancing around in a field full of daisies. In this term’s classes, we’ll be learning a host of new programs, new hotkeys, and new workflows: Unity 3D, Autodesk Maya, Adobe Flash, Unreal Development Kit. Even for those of us who have some experience in one or more of these programs, it’s going to be a period of very intense and accelerated learning.

“So are you saying there’s nothing to look forward to?”

Not at all! With great struggle comes great reward… or something. I forget how that saying goes.

We’re finally starting Unity, which is my personal Beacon of Hope and Rainbows for Term 2. I’ve had some minimal experience in Unity, mostly on the painstakingly-importing-2D-art-with-the-right-settings side, and just a bit of messing-around-on-a-friend’s-laptop-with-no-real-goal. What I do know about Unity is that it’s awesome, and must be learned as soon as possible!

I’m excited to be inducted into the world of quick digital prototyping. I have nothing against paper, and I enjoyed the previous term’s board game project tremendously, but some things are more easily tested in code. Similarly, it’s amazing to be able to interact with a world you just created, however minimally or simplistically — it’s a feeling that I rarely get from my paper prototypes.

“Unity, Unity, Unity. Is that all you care about?”

I’d be lying if I said Unity wasn’t my biggest interest this term, but I’m also curious about the other classes. The instructors at VFS have been nothing short of amazing so far, and I’ve found a lot to gain from each individual class.

Perhaps a bit weirdly, I’m excited for Critical Analysis. I come from the land of liberal arts, where I was conditioned to enjoy writing papers. Do I sound crazy? Game Theory (Digital) is a more obvious choice, since we’ll be playing video games for the practical portion. I don’t own any recent consoles and haven’t played many “big name” games, so I really look forward to actually seeing and experiencing the games the rest of the world has been talking about.

“You need a life outside of school, don’t you?”

Who really needs one, when school is this much fun? GD33 is a pretty adventurous and outgoing group, so we intersperse class and homework with Arcade Room escapades, playtesting parties, evening hang-outs, and Hero’s Journey road trips. I’d say we suffer from wanting to do too much, really.

Even if we get swamped with work in a couple weeks, I believe we’ll carry that enthusiasm through!


Anna Prein is a VFS Game Design student and a winner of our Women in Games Scholarship