Change Manifesto

Last night I couldn’t sleep – as usual – even after having a normal couple days for the first time all week. I feel like my body and mind is struggling to make the changes I need to go forward. So I spent some time brainstorming on the subject of change.

What must I change?
  • Bad habits; smoking, junk food, alcohol, drugs, excess spending.
  • Attitude towards loved ones; they need to be treat better, shouldn’t be wound up or toyed with for my own amusement, make sure I speak to or see them.
  • Work ethic; this is my dream, I need to work tirelessly in pursuit of it.
  • Time management; knowing how much time to spend, figuring out what is most important.
When can I change it?
  • Now
Who will I change for?
  • Myself
  • My girlfriend
  • My family
  • My friends
  • My future family
  • Those in the future who I will be able to help
Where will I need to make changes?
  • At home; eating, sleeping, project work, exercise, care time, leisure time
  • At university; assignments, using the facilities to my advantage, being prepared, ahead of the class
  • Out in the world; presenting myself better, being confident in my ways, stop imagining conflict, not spend money that isn’t saved for occasions
  • Inside myself; break bad habits, gain new experiences, find more of the good in life, refine my philosophy
Why must I change?
  • 26 years old; the time is now
  • For the people who want and need me to
  • Not let fear hold me down in life
  • Development and success require it
  • I know how I want to live, I just have to do
How will I go about making the changes?
  • Imagine; myself in the future after the changes, what will I be doing then, what will I have gained, what negatives will have gone
  • For the people who want and need me to
  • Analyse; the root causes and patterns which enable/trigger the problems
  • Plan; how each problem will be tackled, creating strategies to avoid failure
  • Track; progress across time, towards set goals with a clear purpose
  • Adjust; goals or strategies to ensure success
  • Evaluate; success and failures so they can both be learnt from
  • Deadline; set a point at which I can consider myself completely changed
  • Reward; celebrate my success

Starting today I hope to imagine, plan and track the changes in my life. Like any person on this planet, you have to ask yourself how you’re going to get those changes to stick. It’s all too easy to reach that point where you just say to yourself “stuff this, life’s too short” or “I can do this any time, so I can just be me for now” or “enjoy it while I’m young”…blah, blah.

My drive for change at this time is the feeling of necessity. I promised myself when I was younger that I could quit college, get a job and live a little before I needed to commit to anything. Well, that time is over – in fact – it’s very much behind me. I’m behind both the hare and the tortoise, so I must catch up.

Jarrow: End Game

Today I’ve been able to sort my primary and secondary research. I now feel I have enough to begin creating a presentation for the fictional Jarrow video game.

Made this loading screen of my local shopping center.

Image by Carl Halligan

Carrying out the research is only one task of four from the brief. I have been working hard towards covering as many learning outcomes as possible, so I have already made good progress on tasks two and four. Continue reading “Jarrow: End Game”


Today’s lesson with Kaf was fast and we covered a lot of stuff. The first was a way to label scene objects in Maya, using medial capitals or CamelCase.

Camel case – Wikipedia

Some systems prefer camelcase with the first letter capitalised, others not. For clarity, this article calls the two alternatives upper camel case (initial upper case letter, also known as Pascal case) and lower camel case (initial lower case letter). Some people and organizations, notably Microsoft, use the term camel case only for lower camel case.

Playing with the tools in Maya helped me understand that I have a lot more to learn before I’ll be able to ‘rig‘ a character. Continue reading “CamelCase”

S.M.A.R.T. Target & Life Goal

Today Len taught us about the ‘S.M.A.R.T.’ mnemonic and he asked me to explain my personal goal based on this premise.

S – To produce a ‘Distinction’ quality portfolio of work which can be used to showcase my talents as a video game designer; allowing me to secure funding or employment in the industry.
M – I will measure my success against the marking criteria for the H.N.D. Games Production (Engines and Animation) course which I am enrolled. I see this as the standard to which I must work and I will be comparing my work to that of my peers and professionals, for inspiration.
A – I have worked hard through adversity to get to this point and have received encouraging praise for my progress so far. I feel the goal is achievable as I know I have relevant skills.
R – It will also challenge my known weaknesses; complex art and traditional drawing styles.
T – I do best when I have a large amount of work to do in a relatively short amount of time; preferring intense sessions of learning to maximize my creative output. Continue reading “S.M.A.R.T. Target & Life Goal”

Research…So Much Freaking Research

Despite today’s lesson on the new timetable being animation, Kaf was not available, so we had a productive session of project work with Martin instead.

I really like the research aspect of game design but I seem to spend way too much time lost in the materials, chasing my tail.

I worked back over the assignment brief, expanding on my previous work, so I can meet the ‘merit’ and ‘distinction’ criteria for each learning objective. I still feel like I am often stepping outside of the scope of the given task. Continue reading “Research…So Much Freaking Research”

Animate Like Miyazaki, Go!

Today I had my glimpse into the world of 3D animation in my first lesson with our animation tutor, Kafui ‘Kaf’ Elorm Avornyo.

Kaf explained to us, that he will be teaching us the complexities of Autodesk’s Maya 2013, as well as checking our progress on the assignments we will be given. For the first assignment, however, we are not required to animate, simply research. This meant we had time to have a quick play with the program before being given a comprehensive study list and some interesting homework. Continue reading “Animate Like Miyazaki, Go!”

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Firsts, that is; the first day at university, the first lesson and the first assignment, among other not so tasty or enjoyable firsts.

I was surprised to be told within minutes of the lesson that our lead tutor, Frankie Cavanagh, is going to be leaving soon – taking some of the staff with him – to start some other game related course across from our university. We were also introduced to the fellow who would be replacing him called Martin Holcroft, who just finished working at Ubisoft on Watch Dogs. Hopefully, this will work out better for us but only time will tell.

Martin 3D modelled some of the cars in the game, which you can see in the trailer here.

With that out of the way, we dove straight into the first assignment brief; a pitch to the local council for a video game based in your hometown. I had to sip the air and hold my breath, to stop myself screaming “JARRA!” in my best Viking voice. Continue reading “A Series Of 01000110 01101001 01110010 01110011 01110100 01110011”

Too Early…

Today was not the day it seems!

It turns out that I am a week early for my course; the start date is actually Monday the 30th September. In the meantime, I plan to practice my drawing and coding skills in preparation.

I have enabled the blog feature of Drupal, which I will be using to post regular updates as I go through my studies.

About This Project…

I N F I N I T Y ² ⁷ or ∞²⁷ – an independent project, created to exhibit and help organise my creative output.

My name is Dan Baird, a twenty-something-year-old aspiring video-games designer. At the end of 2012, I had decided it was time for me to chase my dream career; designing video-games for a living.

I enrolled in an intensive course at Newcastle College, starting early 2013. For six months I studied quantitative methods, physics and information technology; achieving the highest grade of ‘Distinction’ in all subjects. This proved to be a valuable stepping stone for me, allowing me to enter further education for the first time and proving to my doubts that I will make it if I work hard enough.

Having been given an unconditional offer from Gateshead College I am now back in full-time education, studying HND Games Production (Engines and Animation). I plan to utilise the college’s facilities, along with the features of the Drupal content management system, to present creative works which are based on my own, original video-game design ideas.