The First Portfolio Piece

November 1 - 7, 2021

The Fabled "First Portfolio Piece"

The vast majority of my time went into my first portfolio piece: Designing A Zombie Apocalypse. It covers two design iterations and explains how & why certain decisions were made. It took a lot of back and forth with my mentor, but I’m pleased with where it ended up. I’ll let the piece speak for itself. Give it a read! If you spot anything wrong or have any thoughts on it, feel free to send over an email.

A New Mentor

Let it be known that I’ve sent dozens of emails with no reply since starting this journey. This week, however, I got a response! They were more than happy to talk about game design and answer any questions I had. I was honestly a little starstruck when I heard they had designed levels for games I loved as a kid. I got a solid piece of advice to transition into gameplay programming first. Gameplay programmers work closely with game designers to fulfill that creative vision. Given my technical background, that sounds like a good idea.

They also suggested learning Unreal Engine 4 over Unity because larger studios prefer the optimizations possible through C++ (among other things). As an engineer myself, I completely understand. Games are ridiculously complex, and large games need to take every opportunity to increase performance.

I Bought An Unreal Engine Course

Among all the great advice my new mentor gave me, they also suggested I take a course on UE4 by Tom Looman. I would have immediately jumped on it, then saw the $350 price tag. Oof. Thankfully Tom has many UE4 tutorials on his youtube channel for free. After doing a few of them and enjoying his teaching style, I put my money where my mouth is and bought it. I didn’t have time to jump on it this week, but it’s on the shortlist for next week.

Game Design Improv

Eventbrite has been good to me lately. I found Game Design Improv hosted by Ian Schreiber. Ian has written and co-written books on game design, so I couldn't miss this opportunity. To prevent this post from being massive, I'll save my thoughts on his workshop for next week (spoiler alert: it was great).

Next Week's Plan