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7:40pm on Monday, 19th March, 2018:

Open Day


It was project open day today at the university, when final-year Computer Science students showcase their efforts for the past six months. Some 50 or 60 visitors from companies come to look at what's on show, and some of the ensuing discussions and pitches lead to actual jobs. It's a bit disappointing for Games students, though, as we don't have games people wanting to drive all the way to Colchester when they can sit at their desks and have 50 applications to look at for one internship. It's disappointing for me, too, as at least ten of our students do have excellent career potential in the games industry if they can get their foot in the door; then again, most of them had started over-ambitious projects so didn't have anything fully working to show anyway (the deadline for producing something in a markable state not being until next month).

A major change from previous years is that there were no "ant nest simulator" projects and only one "Sudoku-solver" (which was more of an "implement an app for Android" project than a "write 81 nested for loops, that'll do" project).

My own supervisees were mainly designing and developing tile-based RPGs from scratch in Java without using any middleware. All did surprisingly well (well, surprisingly well in my view; surprisingly badly in theirs, as they all had bigger ambitions than would fit in the time they had in which to fulfil them). I insisted they didn't do Fantasy, SF or Horror, which meant I got several very different genres with different gameplay: a JRPG-style school setting; a Middle East historical game; a World War 2 spy stealth game; a caveman crafting-and-hunting game; a pirates game with both land- and ship-based combat. The first two ended up being game engines, so could be used to write other tile-based RPGs (and indeed may well be).

As usual, I had to mark project posters relying on my zero knowledge of graphic design to account for 40% of said marks.

Fortunately for my supervisees, I'm easily impressed.

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Copyright © 2018 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).