Well I didn't think it could happen, but it happened. I missed 3 weeks worth of blog updates.
I can't actually tell if the past 3 weeks have been more busy, if I've gotten lazier, or I've just avoided doing this. It's getting to the point where I can barely remember exactly what it is I've done for the past few weeks to even put in this post.
Biggest things would probably be the the following:
My understanding and expectations of how much a designer should now about C# is still fuzzy. In talking to people who use Unity, the expectation seems to be that designers don't necessarily need to know how to code, just to understand the front end of the editor and know how to navigate it and and modify values. But at the same time every tutorial I've seen for Unity eventually involves doing some kind of coding, otherwise you don't seem to get very far.
Anyways, the new place I'm starting at uses Unity, so one of my hopes is that I will get more practical exposure to using it in a way that is, for lack of a better phrase, "industry standard". This isn't stopping me from looking at other potential roles and applications, but should the worst happen and I continue to not get any paid design work, at the very least I will hopefully be building useful experience.
I completed Metro 2033 Redux and in the end liked it very much. It had many janky parts, spotty presentation, and sometimes underwhelming gun play, but I liked it. I think the mix of atmosphere, unique(ish) setting, some unique mechanics and an unexpected focus on certain characters, all helped to make the game stand out compared to a lot of other shooters. Plus that whole side aspect of interdimensional aliens or whatever it is probably helped too.
As keen as I was to move straight onto Metro: Last Light, I wanted to take a break and try a different game I had heard plenty about - SpiritFarer. I'd heard great things about this game, and it looked like the exact opposite to Metro 2033, and I think it's good to keep a constant variety in what you play.
Also I got an Xbox Series S and signed up to GamePass and I'm immediately in love. I forgot what a snappy console UX could be. I've started exploring the GamePass library and I'm doing my best to avoid just immediately downloading and replaying a game I've already played to death. So likely first up on the chopping block will be Nier Automata.
Another abominably late blog entry, but at the very least this week has been more productive than the previous ones.
The fight to understand Unity continues, with me almost having finished the "Ruby's Adventure: 2D Beginner" tutorial series. It starts to go in deep with C# scripting which I am almost completely clueless on, but I persevered regardless. At this point in time I've got a character that moves, animates, receives damage and launches projectiles. Next tutorial is getting the camera to follow the character.
After that, I'll be in a position to try and roughly put together whatever the even more basic version of a prototype is for the Hooligans concept. Following tutorials is fab, but until you start working towards an actual "thing", you're still just following breadcrumbs. And having a "thing" to aim for is usually helpful when it comes to trying to learn more.
Outside of this I have continued the Pixelles program, submitting my first draft for the cinematic assignment. I got some great feedback from the folks in my group so I have an idea now of how I want the second draft to play out, which I'm actually excited to do!
I also took some time to have a think about my 2D, top down shooter prototype, and why I wasn't progressing with it. I'm not sure if this was the root cause, but one of my issues with the current prototype was that all the spaces felt a tad too big. No idea if that is normally a good thing in other top down games, but with mine, it felt like it led to zero structure, and a lot of unnecessary travel for the player.
So I've re-worked the opening levels to make them tighter, simpler, but more structured. Trying to take cues I've learnt from level design friends to help guide the player to the intended spots without overt sign-posting. And I'm way happier now. The game is still a haze in my head, and I have no idea if it will continue to proceed, but this feels like progress.
Current game I'm playing: Metro 2033 Redux. A decade old shooter that definitely shows its age, but has a pretty compelling atmosphere and presentation. So even though I'm not the biggest survival horror fan, I'll keep going (mostly because the second and third entries in the franchise are apparently markedly better).