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SIPR1A 4355

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Student Initiated Project Evaluation

For my “Student Initiated Project” I decided to create a series of concept art for a
science fiction computer game. The research predominantly consisted of:
understanding industry standard; insight into recent scientific developments as a
form of inspiration, what concept art is; and a brief history of my selected genre
of gaming.

The reason why I selected concept art was because I am doing a combined
dissertation that includes programming a game. I wanted to utilise this unit to
help me build the foundations to do so. I feel as though I learnt a great deal of
useful information regarding industry standard and processes, however, I did not
reach industry standard with my artefact. Even though I felt hopeful at the
beginning of the project, I very much struggled with producing the artefact. It
had been a long time since I had last been drawing and I did not predict how
difficult it would be to get a feel for again. This has taught me that it would
probably not be very wise to attempt another sketchbook in third year as I feel I
would have to build up my drawing stamina again.

I think the main reason why I am not satisfied with my artefact is because I
blindly selected a topic that was superior to my ability. I wanted to improve my
skill set with regards to drawing as I had not had much opportunity to do so since
college. One area I found myself struggling with was drawing from imagination
as opposed to something in front of me. I did an A-level in “Fine Arts,” which
consisted of drawing real objects and people. I overcame this by doing exercises
with human skeletons and studying photographs of models in various positions.
Moving from a realism style to a cartoon style was quite difficult for me. This is
why I have drawn in various different styles as I was attempting to find what
suited me best.

On reflection, I believe the best method of avoiding this same mistake would be
to enforce project management techniques a lot earlier on in the project. I feel if
I did my “SWOT Analysis” earlier and considered the consequences I may have
been more successful in choosing my topic. Furthermore, it would have been
ideal if I had started my artefact earlier or did some sort of testing as to whether
I would be successful, for example: tested my drawing ability. If I was to do
SIPR2, I would be a lot more analytical about my subject matter.

However, I do think I have learnt a great deal from this experience. I particularly
struggled with this semester due to having to balance five units and it has
highlighted the necessity of good project management. It has taught me to take
the preached project management techniques more seriously in order to be
successful. I also feel as though I have built up my skill set with researching and
understanding the industry. A lot of necessary realisms have been brought to
light, which is essential in selecting where I am going to go next with regards to
my career. I also enjoyed the process of blogging, which was something I had not
experienced previously.
SIPR1A 4355
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Furthermore, I felt that the focus of forms of documentation helped me to break
out of a repetitive academic routine and inspired me to feel more creative. Over
the past two years, I had slipped into a very monotonous routine of working
journals and essays. Understanding there are forms of documentation, such as:
screen capture, blogging, web cam and so forth, helped me to widen my eyes to
possibilities of recording my work. This creative edge would help make my
portfolio stand out and has also given me a less narrow perspective on tackling
my dissertation. I have already begun a private blog on “Word Press”
documenting my research so far on my dissertation.

I did not have much experience with working with others as I did not have an
external client. I regret this now as I feel it would have given me more direction
in my work and I understand the importance of having the experience of working
for someone. I did meet up with as many lecturers as possible who had
experience in computer games design (Robert Griggs, Gavin Wade and Andy
Bain) but I did not get feedback on my work from them. It was a valuable
experience interviewing them as I felt a better understanding of the industry and
it made me critically reflect on what software was suitable for the development
of the game.

Even though I was not satisfied with the quality of work produced for my
artefact, I am pleased with my blog. I suffered a few problems with using
Posterous (highlighted in one of my posts) but generally it worked very efficiently
with publishing my research. I feel as though a little more variety of
documentation would have been beneficial, for example screen capture.
However, these lacking aspects are a result of my artefact not being produced to
the standard of quality I had both hoped and predicted.

There will be a continuation of this project over the summer. I plan to revisit and
continue my sketchbook to complete a substantial amount of concept art. I have
now attained an external client for my dissertation; therefore the project content
has changed. However, once I have defined the style of the game through the
concept art I intend on still making it. This is because it will give me more
experience with programming as well as helping me build up my portfolio. As I
have enjoyed the blog as a form of documentation, further developments
reaching beyond the concept art will be published on there.

Overall, I am glad that I had chosen this unit as I feel it has taught me important
lessons and realities. I am disappointed in my artefact, but I know now to be less
ambitious with regards to my skills. I think blogging is a brilliant method of
documentation and am glad to have discovered it. The experience of using it will
prove useful in future projects.