Future travel

By the end of the month I will have travelled by airplane 8 times in 30 days. I love every aspect of it, finding cheap flights and people to stay with, finding places to go and things to do, meeting those people and doing those things. I think if I ever found myself not travelling for a few years I would have to re evaluate my priorities.

I graduate in a few months. My dissertation and final year project are coming along slowly but surely (journal). At the beginning of the month I visited two friends in Angoulême and spent the weekend there exploring the beautiful murals around the city, at the huge annual international comics festival and making a small VR prototype ‘last minute gift’. The game involves grabbing various small objects from around the room and combining them into ‘gifts’ for customers. It was a lot of fun collaborating with my friends who are both hugely talented 3D artists and animators.

Two weeks ago I was in Belgium at Screenshake, a games festival in Antwerp that I helped out at last year too. It was incredible fun and I made some really great friends who I hope I can get to jam with some day. A highlight was moving plants around with Ed Key, creator of Proteus and a very nice person. I stayed with another friend before the festival just nearby Ghent, a programmer and graduate of the course I am on. We had a great burger and watched some strange films. I played through most of Zeno Clash which is a really surreal and wonderful world.

Tomorrow I fly to San Fransisco where I will attend GDC as an IGDA scholar. It is quite overwhelming and I am still recuperating from my past travels I just hope I do not end up ill, I have bought some vitamin tablets which I plan to take every morning in the hopes of staying upright. I managed to get tickets for That.Party as well as the Day of the Devs live play happening at the Alamo. There are so many talks happening and almost always two I would want to see simultaneously. I plan to make it to some roundtables and the Mild Rumpus showcase. The other scholars all seem great and I’m excited to meet them in person.

Outside of university and travel I have been starting to form a plan for after graduation. Two friends, artist and programmer/audio production, developed and released a small game on steam last year and found that having only one programmer caused trouble when bugs appeared or they needed to slow down. They asked me to join them in starting a small cooperative in Dundee to work on games and find other work together if the games didn’t bring in enough money to survive. We had discussed the idea numerous times and it finally seemed like we were ready. After a month of research we approached a local collective, Biome, for advice. They have been so supportive and invited us to join them. Recently the three of us started work on a weird idea we are calling Dog Sports, players control two ends of a double sided dog and try to figure out how to score in strange sport type activities. We quickly got a little prototype working in Unity and hope to develop it further.

We applied for a funding opportunity and although we were rejected it was great experience learning about the process, we are considering applying for Stugan and perhaps DARE a competition running internally at our Uni this year.

In my own time I have been helping run Code Club still, I helped at NEoN digital arts festival last year for a couple of weeks and at Games are For Everyone which I hope to attend again next month. I have played around with a few prototypes, Big Necks for which I also started making a distance based custom controller I call the video clap, two players each put a hand in between the sensors and can move them sideways along a line to control an object in the game 1:1, if both players move their hands toward each other they will clap. I started to build a tiny game in Bitsy a lovely little editor for exploration games int he style of puzzlescript a favourite of mine. I also bought a SuperCard for my new (old) gameboy micro which I ported my old coursework to and started making tiny games for. My plan is to make a little collection of two player games that just use two buttons each.

I started reading again and finished the fascinating series of dev interviews written by Cara Ellison, Embed With Games, Steve Swink’s Game Feel and the Tetris Graphic Novel all of which I loved. I need some new recommendations in that area as my local bookshop pointed me to ‘Steve Jobs’ when I asked if they had any books related to Video Games.

The future seems to be fast approaching and I only hope I can keep up with it once it arrives and still have the time to travel, jam and read with the people I love to spend time with. I guess I’ll find out soon enough.