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University lecturer - 3 semesters done
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Poo Bear
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Joined: 14 Oct 2002
Posts: 4121
Location: Sheffield, UK



PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 7:02 pm    Post subject: University lecturer - 3 semesters done Reply with quote

Almost finished my first 3 semesters - 9months - which is enough to complete all the teaching for the current year. Phew! It was hard, but fun. Slightly spoilt by extensive down time due to ill health - had flu which triggered chest / gallbladder / leg infections, that put me in hospital and then the leg infection turned into a deep vein thrombosis (blood clot)! Had to take a month off. OK now, but on long term medication. You know what they say about making the most of every day - they aren't kidding!

I've been teaching game's programming with DirectX, team game development, C++ programming, assembly language, computer architecture and mobile game development. I've had under graduate students in all years of study and some post graduate students too. I've also got a school book coming out in June, \\"a day in the life of a games designer\\", which was a lot of fun to write.

Time for a holiday and a re-charge I think. Then I'm probably going to learn Unity so I can support students next year who aren't ready for C++ and try and get my head around 3DS-Max2013. A lot of students wanted help sourcing and fixing models and I was severely lacking in that department.

I don't have a lot of free time, so I'm tempted to make a simple mobile game. I've had to teach mobile development, but not released anything, so it feels a bit like cheating Smile Not sure what yet though.
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Weeble
Starscape Jedi
Starscape Jedi


Joined: 25 Apr 2003
Posts: 1143
Location: Glasgow, Scotland



PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry to hear about all your health misfortunes. I hope things are getting better for you now.

I've heard people say a lot of good things about Unity. I've never tried it myself (I am nowhere near focused enough in my spare time to actually make games) but I certainly like C#. I have mixed feelings about Mono (which I understand Unity uses for all its user scripting). I love that it exists, and it's surprisingly good for an open-source, cross-platform reimplementation of .NET, but there's just so much stuff in it (by necessity) that it's not very hard to run into a bug, spend days tracking it down and reporting it, possibly even fixing it, and then have to wait months or years for the fix to make its way through to your distribution channel. I love it and I hate it.

For your mobile game, how about 'Ms Robot', a Ms Pac-Man / Mr Robot mash-up? I'm not sure which elements you'd pick from which. Probably simple Pac-Man style graphics to keep the asset burden low. Perhaps Sokoban-style puzzling or some kind of abstract game representing hacking?
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Poo Bear
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Joined: 14 Oct 2002
Posts: 4121
Location: Sheffield, UK



PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used sokoban when teaching mobile game development to MSc students (who'd never done anything like it before).



Even first years C++ got some sokoban-like game development, used the SFML library which is lovely to use. These weren't even games students, but what the hell, eh?

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Slyh



Joined: 25 Nov 2004
Posts: 480
Location: Karlsruhe, Germany



PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you also teach about class and code structuring techniques, like for example the Entity-Component-System? A tutorial can be found in this article:
http://www.gamedev.net/page/resources/_/technical/game-programming/case-study-bomberman-mechanics-in-an-entity-component-system-r3159
I'm currently using ECS in a small (or maybe not-so-small) game I'm doing in my rare spare-time. ESC is a quite interesting approach, that feels better than standard inheritance, which is used in most other areas of software development. Sometimes I'm still struggling with design questions, though, like for example when to implement a new system versus adding some functionality to an existing system. Or where not to use a system at all.
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Poo Bear
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Joined: 14 Oct 2002
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

yes I do. The entity-component system is very interesting, but it isn't taught currently, I think because it's still maturing and has weaknesses. It's like how databases, tables and SQL work really.

It was used extensively in the MMORPG Hellgate, designers could edit a database and create their own new game objects by defining all the components a new game object needed. No recompiling, no restarting the server, just define what components the entity needs and away you go. Hundreds of components were created and it became ever more complex to remember which components were needed in certain situations. Components also required constant update to ensure they worked in different combinations.

It was used in the script system in Unity, but produced race conditions. The integrity of components is compromised because certain components inevitably need updating before/after others. This breaks a fundamental design goal, in Unity they had multiple updates that run after each other and different components need to update in the right one. All gets a bit complex.

At my uni the loose consensus is to favour simple composition using templates and limited inheritance (~2 levels max) sparingly. This is to keep us in line with the majority of AAA game developers. Entity Components are a very interesting design pattern though and are growing in popularity.
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