I’m incredibly lucky.*
It seems that whatever I’m doing, it’s something that I love.
Over the christmas holidays I went to visit the various branches of various families, most of which don’t have a clue what it is I do. Among one of these families is a 13 year old boy that is pretty much a replica of myself at that age. Whilst we spent a good few hours over that time playing Skyrim, Halo and Call Of Duty (age restriction issues are for a different day), the most fun was had showing him what I do, as it’s something that he’s very interested in. He’s asked a few times about doing work experience at a game development studio, so I figured I might as well just show him what I do now, rather than waiting a couple of years. We downloaded the version of Unity and spent a few hours messing around.
Now, I’ve taught Unity to a fair few students over the last couple of years, all with varying degrees of competency of 3d modelling, game design and game development, but never a 13 year old with no experience of game development, the intricacies of game design and not a GCSE to his name (not really his fault, he is 13).
The amazing thing was that the process of teaching a 13 year old and a final year game design degree student was no different. The straight forward nature of creating content in Unity is self explanatory, you just point the users in the right direction and let them do the rest. After the initial explanation of how Unity combines game objects and components together, the main thing we focussed on was where to find the cool stuff, and how it can be used to make games.
There’s a big different between how to DO the cool stuff and where to FIND the cool stuff, but even with the basic packages that come with Unity, it really is a case of where to find it.
The most important observation I made though is that within about 30 minutes of explaining Unity’s UI, game object and component based systems, I was already talking about how things are done within the game industry. I was talking about the little tips and tricks to speed up development, rather than how to get the software working. We were playing with physics and coming up with ideas of games through playing with the software, rather than battling through it’s labyrinthine network of menus and stacks to do something, to do anything.
After an hour we were walking through hurriedly painted mountains and pushing down walls of blocks with giant bowling balls. Two hours later we were back fighting ice trolls on Skyrim, but at least he can go back to school in a few days and say that he made a *game* over the holidays, as well as playing the shit out of them!
Happy New Year.
*luck really does come down to hard work and putting yourself in the right positions though.