Leaving education to begin learning

After 18 years in the scottish education system I am very ready to leave. Oddly enough one of the things I’m most excited to start doing is learning. Although Abertay University was a brilliant environment to learn in and hone my skills as a programmer while meeting new people and collaborating on new projects, I rarely took the time to learn anything outwith programming. The exception is a short EdX course on game design I took last summer and thoroughly enjoyed.

I admit I have still to learn as a programmer but I feel confident in the areas I enjoy working in and find myself able to tackle most of the challenges I come across when working on projects. In the coming weeks I plan to begin drawing again and learning illustrator. Vector art is something that fascinates me to no end and having recently been inspired by the work of Mark Usmiani I want to produce one illustration a day. Hopefully these illustrations would become a kind of story in themselves. When feeling my way around the program I created a simple piece that I really liked which you can see below.

Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 16.58.59
time flies

Electronics is something else I am excited to explore, I recently began to build a simple drawbot based on this design. It uses two disk drives to move a piece of paper and a pen making marks and producing artwork that looks somehow more authentic than inkjet printed work. Thinking about these drawbots and the amazing work people create (the hanging gondola is a favourite) I realised you could create interesting games using a small drawbot. Of course these games would have to revolve around the permanence of the marks the drawbot makes and the speed at which it makes them. Permanent games, as I have been calling them in my head, already exist in the form of Noughts and Crosses (Tic Tac Toe) and Dots and Boxes.

I also hope to update this blog more often as I spend time working on PHOGS, a game about going on an adventure with your friend as a double ended dog. I moved into Biome Collective in Dundee quickly after graduating to start working on the game. I am also looking at contract work to bring in some income while dedicating time to the game. You can follow the development log for the game over on TIGForums here. It is very silly and fun to prototype levels for. I have also taken on some responsibilities to do with management which has surprisingly been great fun! You can see a short gameplay video here.

Another endeavour I began over last few months is creating these little sketches using facebook messengers photo feature. I will take a photo and then use the marker pen to draw figures in the world adding little emoji to the world. I love scrolling through the different emoji and trying to embed them in the real world. It would be my dream to take them and somehow make a set of postcards from them. Perhaps if I keep it up I could run a small batch and sell them somewhere. I find it quite meditative and have started paying far more attention to world around me whenever I am walking around the city.