What’s to Come

Having dispensed with the first week of the second semester, I now have a decent idea what I’m going to be up to for the rest of the year. This semester is five modules instead of the previous three, so I’m doing my best to get ahead this week while I can, and think about what I’ll do for the assignments.

Oh, before I continue, I’ll track Wayne down this week and ask about getting videos of our PSP demos. I’m not sure he’s found out about that yet himself though, so I may have to try it out myself. Fingers crossed I can get a demo onto YouTube soon.

Interactive 3D Graphics Programming
We’re moving away from our own software renderers and into DirectX. We’ll be using DirectX 11 and working a lot with shaders. One of the assignments for this module is to create a simple 3D game engine using DirectX. We’ll probably have to make a small game to demonstrate this, and I’ve not a clue what I’m going to do for that yet. I do want to look into cel-shading though – I looked it up last semester but there was no way it would have worked in my software renderer. In shaders though, it should be no problem.

Mobile Apps Development
Working with java we’re to develop an application for android that meets the specifications laid out in the assignment spec. Since a lot of the people on the course are games programmers can I see a lot of games coming from this module in the near future. I already have a concept in mind, and the module tuition seems to have set off at snail’s pace, so I plan to get a head start this weekend, and press on ahead.

Team Software Development
As far as we know we’ll be working in the same groups as last semester, but I wouldn’t put it past Dave playing some tricks on us. We’ve been told to either continue our original projects or start new ones, and my team has opted to start something new with the lessons learned from our difficulties in the first half of the module. We’re working in XNA, since that’s what most of the team feels most comfortable with, and drawing inspiration from classic arcade games. We’ve also been promised a bit more tuition over the chaos of last semester, where we were pretty much dropped into groups and left to do our own thing.

Operating Systems
This module is about looking at the theory of operating systems and how they work. We’ll be tasked to develop applications that make use of functionality provided by operating systems, and there’ll also be a test to make sure we’ve been listening throughout the lectures.

Console Development
Actually come to think of it, the first lecture in this was a brief recap of the first semester, so I’ve just taken a look at the module handbook. It seems we’ll be focussing more now on optimisation and performance analysis. We’ll be looking at hardware (probably of the PSP, like last semester) and how it affects the performance of our programs. The final objective will probably be to create a game or application of some sort that is tailored in some way to perform well on the PSP, and detail what we have done to achieve this.

Despite the added pressure from university, me and my friends at home are still planning to continue our collaborative work – though we need to simplify our game idea significantly or it’ll just never be finished. During the first semester we more or less completed a framework/engine built around XNA and began developing a level editor for our ambitious current concept. We will not let that go to waste!

Actually, the others are considering setting up as a company for their placement year, as some students have had success doing in the past. While this would be fun, and no doubt a worthwhile experience, I’d still rather get a real placement and learn from the current masters. I’ll try to help them out anyway, but for me, getting a placement is still a high priority.


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