Always Look Twice

Feeling grateful today as there are only two weeks and four deadlines left before I finish university and head off to Japan. While the workload is high and time is ticking away I feel like I’m finally riding a wave of pressure that is manageable. Yesterday I took another look into the past as I dig up two old posts for the blog archive and realise how far I’ve come these past five years.

I used to struggle with analysing a brief and researching a topic, which I mention in the first post. Spending too much time taking notes on ancillary tasks, deliberating over possible interpretations and getting lost in the meaning of it all, going off on time-consuming tangents that would gain me little or no credit. These things used to be a big problem for me and I would often end up spending too much time up front, making the ‘perfect plan’ which I wouldn’t have enough time left to execute. Jump forward to today and I have an 1800 word assignment due on Monday, which I confidently deconstruct and begin working on within a single morning. A skill bourne out of necessity; having juggled academia, business and family on a never-ending seven day work week. The quality of my work has gotten better too as a result.

My ‘insane’ seven-day work week. The only way to raise two kids, run a business and graduate from university. Take that, Tim Ferris!

The second post seems timely too, as I had spent some time this week animating game characters for a group assignment. It was nice to remind myself of a time when I didn’t have a clue about animation and even just looking at the interface of a 3D computer graphics application would give me anxiety-inducing stress. Now I rather look forward to projects that give me the opportunity to put my skills to practice. I can train a PhD professor or a college freshman the key principles of animation and how to apply them to a 3D scene using Maya. When my son demands to watch one of Hayao Miyazaki‘s Studio Ghibli animations for the umpteenth time I can understand and truly appreciate the artistry and loving craft that goes into every hand-drawn frame.

A paper miniature of the Studio Ghibli Museum, which I'm excited to be visiting with my family at the end of this month!

When I started this journey back in 2013 I was 26 years old and felt I had none of the skills, and virtually no transferable experience, with which I could build my own business in the video games industry. Five years later – plus a ton of student loan debt – I’ve now developed a whole host of skills and that will serve me well for the rest of my professional life. Most of all, my life is as enriched by these skills as it’s enhanced by the opportunities they bring. I’ll be 31 years old this time next week and I now feel set to tackle challenges of the next thirty years of my life.

At 26 I felt defeated, standing at the bottom of a mountain I didn’t believe I could climb. Now I’m near the summit, scrambling determinedly like some kind of Terminator-like Laura Croft. Life’s weird like that, huh?

If I had the time to photoshop Laura Crofts face onto the T-1000 while he metal-hooks his way up a vertical rock face then this is where I would have put the picture.

‘Mummy, I Want A Pony!!!’

This assignment paper was written as part of my final year studies on the B.Sc. (Hons) Computer Game Design & Production course at Northumbria University. I have also included the marks and comments from the lecturer, Nicholas Lewis.

In this assignment, we were tasked with producing a task-based report that presented a proposal for a video game, adapted from one of three ideas. I chose the pony one.

The word count for each section was pretty tight, at 500 words per heading, so this one was especially difficult for me to cut down. I like to do what I would consider too much research, then fit as much of that in as relevant and possible. It paid off!

12038863 - CM0658 - Assigment 1 Task Based Report

Category Comment Mark Out Of
Game Idea A well-structured report. The game choice and justification present a good discussion, arguing for and against decisions, as well backing up assertions with effective referencing. 18 20
Legal Legal requirements are well presented, clear and justified. 17 20
Development The justification for software chosen is very concise, and bullet points a good range of features. The 2D software is particularly well researched, with each piece of software being well explained. 16 20
Data Security A very effective data security plan which outlines the legislation, vulnerabilities, and corresponding action to be taken. 19 20
NDA All incorrect clauses have been spotted. 10 10
Presentation 9 10
Overall: Overall, a very well presented and researched piece of work. 89 100


How Leveraging Business Models Levelled-Up the Video Games Industry

Today I would like to present the most recent assignment paper that I wrote as part of my final year studies on the B.Sc. (Hons) Computer Game Design & Production course at Northumbria University. I have also included the marks and comments from the lecturer, Dan Hodgson, in the hopes that any students who read this may be able to avoid the errors I made that were brought up in the feedback.

In this assignment, we were asked to write a paper, in the form of a position, a review or an investigation. This would be like an essay, but we were expected to write it to academic standards, similar to papers that are written for academic journals.

Since I had recently become enamoured with business models I chose to write an investigation on business models in the games industry.

An investigation paper is one which reports on some secondary research (drawing on other papers and sources to investigate some aspect). Typically this will ask a question (like the questions that those of you who have chosen an ‘investigative’ final year project are researching) but will not call for any primary research or experimentation in attempting to answer the question.

12038863 - CM0657 - Paper Assignment

Category Comment Mark Out Of
Presentation Clear structure, useful abstract. There are a few (not many) errors in grammar or spelling. The tone of the writing is mostly strongly academic, except it is at times a bit flamboyant and metaphoric – for example: “…eventually usurped these relatively ancient colossi and became the goliath of the entertainment industry…” 13 20
Referencing No issues with your referencing format. 10 10
Use of sources, examples and evidence Outstanding breadth and depth of sources. 17 20
Quality of discussion and conclusions This is outstanding work. There is depth and understanding, and a thorough grounding in literature and sources. This reads like a report on emergent business models in the games industry to businessmen in other industries, highlighting not just that actual practices, but the strengths and pitfalls involved. 47 50
Overall: Excellent work. In this final comment, I like to highlight the most obvious route for improvement. In your case, I would say that this is to pull back a bit on the metaphoric language. The reason for this is clarity, especially for readers for whom English is not their first language, which is often true for academic publications. 87 100