20 December 2011

Minecraft Monday #3: The Disappearance of Father Scowell

Minecraft Monday is a fortnightly feature on Hyp/Arc that documents a playthrough of the hit indie game Minecraft, as well as discussing news and updates regarding the game and the cult phenomenon surrounding it.


Previously on Minecraft Monday, we explored the Little Town of Remedy from its inception as a prison camp up to its recent modernisation that made it slightly less gulag-y! Today, you'll be visiting a number of Remedy's prominent buildings, as well as learning about the Disappearance of Father Scowell...

5 December 2011

Minecraft Monday #2: The Little Town of Remedy

Minecraft Monday is a fortnightly feature on Hyp/Arc that documents a playthrough of the hit indie game Minecraft, as well as discussing news and updates regarding the game and the cult phenomenon surrounding it.


In Minecraft Monday #1, we bade farewell to "Alexander Province", the map I played through after the colossal Adventure Update of Minecraft. In this week's installment, you'll be introduced that map's successor, "Alexander County", and the story of the little town of Remedy, a village founded on suicidal peril, sinister clergy, and prison camp architecture!

21 November 2011

Minecraft Monday #1

I know, I know - I've done a post about my immense love for Minecraft before. However, as of this day - a couple of days after Minecon, when Minecraft 1.0 was finally released - I've decided to make a regular feature of new minecraft updates, and my exploits, creations, joys, and frustrations therewith. This is partially inspired by Gaygamer's Minecraft Monday articles, where we would be treated to some snazzy Minecraft creations and updates, as well as visits to two Minecraft servers, "Sigil" and "The Redfields". Unfortunately, the feature seems in hiatus, so in lieu of that, I present Hyp/Arc Studio's own Minecraft Monday!
At the moment, I'm not sure if this will be a weekly, fortnightly, monthly or sporadic feature - we'll soon see!

Alexander Province

Shortly before "Pre-Release 1.9", I was playing on a single-player survival map called "Alexander Province". The Adventure Update had only just been released, and I had made a map specially for it - and, luckily for me, ended up finding a village not far off from where I had made my base (which in every map I made was around the x:0, y:0 area, purely because I loved building temples at the origin). I spent a few weeks building a new base in the village, upgrading the area so that when villagers were implemented in the next update, they would spawn to find their quality of life boosted by a railway station, traveller's inn, and a complex series of underground evacuation tunnels in the event of an invasion by hostile walking bombs!

Sadly, that day never came; I later upgraded to Pre-Release 1.9 expecting to load up Alexander Province surrounded by the friendly gaze of my townspeople, delirious with joy over the inclusion of a public house (replete with jukebox!). I spawned inside my town manor, and rushed outside - the streets were empty. The upgraded homes I had built remained unoccupied. The public house lay silent but for the twinkling tunes coming from the jukebox in the corner, playing to no audience. It was a ghost town.

As I later discovered - and I'm still not sure if it's actually true or not - villagers would not appear in worlds generated in the Adventure Update, even when you upgraded to Pre-Release 1.9, until the Pre-Release was released as a Beta. I didn't know how long that would be,  and as much as I hated the idea of throwing away all those hours working on the village, I really wanted to make a base inside an area populated by villagers.

And so, I left Alexander Province. The houses never afforded security or shelter for anyone, the gravel streets never paved the way for any feet but mine, and the watchtowers never fought away the darkness of the night for anyone but me. It was a lonely sort of farewell - there was no-one to say goodbye to.

Alexander County

I was intent on starting my new game in or near a village; luckily, Reddit has a list of great Minecraft seeds, including one - "July" - which creates a map with four villages all within walking distance of one another! And so, "Alexander County" was created. I'll save my report on the progress of the County until the next Minecraft Monday, though - I think the inaugural post for the feature should commemorate what has come before.

It's been exactly one month since I left Alexander Province behind - I never went back to it, but the saved map remained until November 18th, the day Minecraft 1.0 was released. To be honest, I miss some of the stuff I'd created for the village that never was. The well that led down to passage into the village's main mineshaft. The Origin Line, a railtrack that took its passengers back to the Temple at Origin (x:0, y:0, remember?). And of course, the Birchtree pub, with its jukebox in the corner, playing a single melody on loop to an empty room.

NEXT - MINECRAFT MONDAY #2: The Little Town of Remedy »

13 July 2011

Doom Patrol

Doom Patrol is a DC comic focusing on the eponymous superhero team, comprised of a collective of superheroes with various powers. Since its inception in 1963, members of the cast have come and gone and come back again, resulting in a broad range of characters. The mainstay of the series, the character who has been in every incarnation of the Doom Patrol, is Cliff Steele, also known as "Robotman" (who dislikes his superhero name, largely because it's a misnomer - he's a human brain mounted inside a robotic body). Other founding characters include Rita Farr, an actress who gains the ability to manipulate the size of her body (or parts of it) after inhaling strange vapors while making a movie in Africa; Larry Trainor, a pilot who accidentally flies his plane into a radioactive field that causes a bizarre entity known as the Negative Spirit to possess his body, which he can unleash in order to attack enemies. Over the series' almost-50 year history, a number of other characters have joined the Doom Patrol - these include Mento, a man with telekinetic and telepathic abilities amplified by bizarre headgear that also amplifies his paranoia; Crazy Jane, a woman whose identity fractured into 64 distinct alternate personalities in order to bear the brunt of her abuse as a child; Dorothy Spinner, a girl with an ape-like face that could physically manifest her imaginary friends; Danny the Street, a sentient, cross-dressing city street that could teleport anywhere in the world; The Freak, a girl whose body was infested by a creature that allowed her to utilise its tendrils in battle; Beast Boy, a green-skinned boy who can change into animals; Nudge, a girl with six people's minds fused together in her head; Coagula, a MTF transexual with the ability to dissolve or coagulate matter; and many more. Heading the group in most of its incarnations was Niles Caulder, "The Chief", a wheelchair-bound genius who aided the Doom Patrol using his intellect to build technology and machinery. The Doom Patrol members are often reluctant heroes who have been shunned from normal society - or superhero society - for various reasons.

The series is well known for its surreal and off-kilter storylines, which the Doom Patrol are best suited to dealing with due to their own odd makeup. Some of the villains the Doom Patrol have faced include the Brain - a brain in a glass jar - and Monsieur Mallah - an intelligent, gun-toting gorilla - of the Brotherhood of Evil; The Builders, who attempt to build a second Tower of Babel that runs deep into the Earth; the Brotherhood of Dada, a grop of capital-S Surreal villains who embody the principles of Dada and include "The Quiz", a Japanese germaphobe who has "every superpower you haven't thought of yet", Alias the Blur, the ghost of a dead mirror that eats time, and "Agent !", a man with a flamboyant outfit and a cage in his chest housing a bird-plane, whose power is to "come as no surprise", resulting in no-one ever being surprised by encountering him; Porcelain Doll, a girl comprised of porcelain and can fire tiny razor-sharp shards of the same at her foes. The team has also encountered the Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse found inside a painting that ate Paris, hyperspatial people who have a building permit for all of the universe, a war between alien races that ended with a potlatch that destroyed both races power, a pseudoimaginary psychic construct that destroys the dreamworld of the Earth. The series explores a number of societal themes such as transhumanism, transgenderism, religious/mystical themes such as Kabbalah and alchemy, and artistic and intellectual themes such as Surrealism, Dada, semantics and semiotics.

The Doom Patrol first appeared in the anthology comic "My Greatest Adventure" only four months before the publication of another comic featuring superpowered outcasts led by a genius in a wheelchair - The X-Men. There has been some speculation by the series' creator, Arnold Drake, that Stan Lee, creator of the X-Men, may have stolen the idea from him.

As of 2011, there have been five volumes of Doom Patrol titles, each of which is summed up on the Wikipedia page for the Doom Patrol. Each volume ended with its cancellation, and in the case of Volumes 4 and 5, continuity was severely altered - in Volume 4, John Byrne's run, the title was rebooted and all previous continuity was retconned. In Volume 5, the retcon was retconned, to the effect that all of the previous continuity is canon, including retconned material. Despite the fact that this leads to some strange continuity "errors", it nonetheless contributes to the odd, surreal theme that the Doom Patrol is known for. The series has once again been cancelled, and the last issue was released on May 2011.

Why I Love Doom Patrol

More than any other comic book series published right now - more than Hellblazer, more than the Authority, more than X-Men or Batwoman - I want to write the Doom Patrol.

I'd be lying if I denied part of it was due to Grant Morrison. Morrison has written so many things that really drew me into the world of comics: in fact, he's written for all of the above titles, Doom Patrol included, as well as a number of other stories I enjoyed, such as The Invisibles, WE3, and X-Men.

That said, Morrison isn't the only reason I'd like to write the Doom Patrol: there's a number of  other writers and artists who've contributed to the series' legacy in such a way that inspired me to want to join their ranks. Rachel Pollack's run of Doom Patrol seemed to polarise the entire fanbase, and whether that was down to following Grant Morrison's act or because of way she was introduced, it certainly wasn't due to a lack of ideas. She tackled some poignant social topics - such as transgenderism and feminism - in a way that didn't feel forced or flippant, as well as utilising a number of concepts - like semi-obscure Judaeo-Christian Kabbalistic practices played mostly straight- that I didn't expect from the series.

I'm a stickler for verisimilitude and internal consistency in just about everything I create and the things others have created that I enjoy - plot holes drive me up the wall, introducing elements from outwith the series' core/related themes annoys me (think Marvel's Curse of the Mutants storyline, where the X-Men were pitted against vampires), and if a series just handwaves a rule that it's set up without any further elaboration of the consequences of that handwave, it bugs me to no end. And yet, Doom Patrol's continuity has metamorphised frequently over the years as many different writers and artists put their own spin on the series, plus its outrĂ©, surreal plots practically beg for things that would normally be outwith the realm of simple superhero stories - and I love it. Part of this, I think, is because Doom Patrol is far different from other superhero titles - in many other superhero titles, the main character is a person with a set theme (Batman is a smart, shadowy vigilante), who has concepts, persons or things that they fight against (Batman fights human injustice) - and then somehow, that character is thrown into stories that disregards either the character's or the universe's internal rules or themes (Batman v. the aliens from the Alien movie series). Doom Patrol, on the other hand, has a band of misfits as the main cast, protecting humanity from undefined evils and/or other misfits - introducing elements that would be inconsistent in other superhero titles is practically begged for in Doom Patrol. And it's for that reason - that allowance for inconsistency a priori - that makes the Doom Patrol more free and open.

That's not to say that Doom Patrol is restricted to only having surreal storylines - it's been shown that the series is more than able to carry social commentary and other "serious" elements along with it. We can enjoy the Doom Patrol being whisked away through a magic circus into space to meet aliens, and we can muse on the ravenous impact (and potential futility?) of war through having those warring aliens commit to a potlatch ceremony. We can watch in shock as the Chief performs abhorrent acts in the name of science, and we can laugh (uneasily) as his fondness for milkshakes means that his detached head occasionally leaks all over the kitchen. The Doom Patrol maintains an equilibrium of both pertinent social issues along with fun fantasy elements in a way that allows for amazing stories, with a bonus helping of giving the reader something to think about at the end.

If/when I get the opportunity to write the Doom Patrol, I'm making it my duty to ensure that all those elements - those avant-garde, over-the-top, tragical-comical moments that make the Doom Patrol what it is - remain within the story and give it something that all the fans of the series can enjoy as much as I did. Here's hoping that opportunity comes soon then, eh?

15 June 2011


Minecraft is a simple first-person 3D game developed by Mojang, where the player is given free reign to explore a randomly-generated world comprised of blocks of terrain, rather like being immersed in a Lego world created by some isometric demiurge; there's no objective, per se, but the game is based around breaking nearby blocks in order to salvage building materials (like chopping down trees for wood blocks or mining stone for cobbled stone blocks) and collecting other useful resources (iron and gold ore can be smelted into iron blocks - which can be used for armor or stronger weapons or tools - and gold blocks - which is used in the creation of powered railway tracks and other useful objects). Through collecting, crafting and smithing, the player is given free reign to build structures such as wooden cabins, stone castles, underwater cities or aerial palaces - all of which can help keep them safe from the many monsters that roam throughout the land, especially at night, which can kill the player if they're not careful. The game is currently being distributed in a Beta version for 14.95 Euros (around £13 pounds) with continual updates every few weeks, and as of June 2011, Notch, the lead designer, reported that it had over 2.5 million purchases.

I came to Minecraft quite late, comparitively speaking. I knew a lot of people who sang its praises, saw folk playing it on their laptops during lectures, and saw posts about it all over the Internet, but for whatever reason, I didn't really explore it for a while. I knew it was about mining ("Riveting!") and there were zombies ("Innovative!) and the graphics were pixel-3D ("Aesthetically profound!"), but I dismissed it out of hand as being dull without really playing it. Shameful as it may be, it wasn't until my friend Max utterly sold me on the concept by tying it to my interests that I gave it a chance: his description of a "completely solitary survival horror" (paraphrasing) instantly flew in the face of all my preconceptions, and I immediately went to play the free Classic mode on the Minecraft website. And then I got hooked.

Lego Architect

Ironically, the mode I played doesn't even feature the survival aspect that I was lured in with: Classic is all about building things.

As a kid, I had crates full of Lego, I'd design floorplans for buildings just for fun, and I loved building "dens" and forts at the river - building things was always something that really engaged my interest. You're given infinite stacks of various types of blocks that you can find in the main game, and using these, you can build with reckless abandon. I've since found out that it's a common thread amongst players that after building simple structures - a small wooden cabin, or a wall, or a vertical mine running into the center of the earth - they progress into building up. One of the great things about Minecraft is that, unlike Lego, there's no need to worry about gravity when it comes to your creations - you can create a free-standing bridge between the peaks of the two tallest mountains in your world just by peeking over the edge of the block you're standing on and placing a block there. Similarly, there's absolutely nothing stopping you from building a glass castle that floats far above the land and colossal gold staircase that rises up to it out of the sea. In fact, there's so much scope for building architectural delights and megalithic megastructures - indeed, many people have already seized upon and realised some fantastic creations here, such as a model of the Earth, a replica of the Taj Mahal, and the Reichstag.

And that's just the beginning. Classic mode may provide you with infinite stacks of blocks, but it's still a pared down version of what Minecraft has to offer. Just as Lego includes things that aren't just simple building blocks (remember the doors and windows? The tiny bulbs with switches attached?), Minecraft has a number of non-block objects that can enrich the game - but they're only available in the Survival mode that comes with the full game.

Lego Engineer

There's a fair amount of variety to the non-block objects you can get in Survival. Some have simple and obvious functions, such as doors, ladders, and trapdoors, but others can display an emergent complexity that is awe-inspiring- a case in point being Redstone circuits, which can be used to create things as complex as 16-Bit ALU computational devices that actually function within the game itself. Add to this the other objects that can be found in the game - such as wheat and sugar cane that can be grown in crops, minecart railway systems, switches and levers that activate doors or detonators - as well as the other dynamic systems such as the flow of water, weather and so on, and the potential for complex systems in the Minecraft world becomes readily apparent.

But there's another thing that Survival mode adds to the gameplay experience - the thing that led me to trying the game in the first place, and the reason for which Survival is so named.

Lego Survivor


If there's a deep, dark cavern near your base, they will spawn there. If you've neglected to put a torch in one of the tunnels of your mine, that's where they'll come from. If one of the rooms in your home is poorly lit, they'll get in. And when the sun goes down, they'll be everywhere.

In Survival mode, monsters will spawn in places with little to no light - and at night-time, when there's no sunlight to keep them at bay, they will appear all over the countryside. Building a structure is only one part of Minecraft - you also have to use it to defend yourself against these monsters. Zombies walk towards you and take chunks out of you if they get close enough; skeletons fire arrows from afar; spiders drop down onto you and rip you apart; and creepers - by far the most insidious enemy - actually attempts to detonate itself if it gets to within a foot of you, potentially putting a severe dent in both your health and the blocks around it. Oftentimes, there's no indication that an enemy is nearby except for a slight audio cue, which greatly adds to the "horror" element of the game - zombies moan, skeletons rattle, spiders squeak (eurgh) and creepers stay completely silent until they get within a foot of you and make a horrifying hiss that signals the onset of the impending explosion that will take you and your building with it. It's fairly easy to build a structure that can keep the monsters out - but if you're not careful about how you build the interior of that structure, they can actually spawn within the walls of your building. Areas that are poorly lit will spawn monsters that can destroy you or your buildings, which adds a whole new factor to consider when building things like mines - where every nook and crevice should either be easily defensible or brightly lit to avoid monsters spawning there.

When you're digging your way down to the center of the earth, with only the light from a torch at the entrance to guide your way, it can be terrifically unnerving to see just the faintest sliver of movement in the darkness behind a nearby passageway, the chilling ambient echoes of a yawning crevasse below you, or the indistinct clatter of bones inside an empty room. Even though Minecraft's horror elements are not at the forefront of its marketing (or even the gameplay itself), it's still quite effective at putting you in the right mindset when you've only got three torches left and your home base is half a mile of poorly lit tunnels away.

Lego Overachiever

In addition to the gameplay, there are a number of factors about the developers themselves that make me excited about the future of the game. For example, a couple of months ago, Achievements were implemented that function similarly to the Xbox 360 feature of the same name. However, rather than have Achievements for otherwise meaningless, banal tasks such as collecting 100 of a particular item, Notch implemented Achievements that led the player into trying out things in the game that they might otherwise have not known about, such as an achievement for baking a cake, which requires finding out how to gain milk, eggs, wheat and sugar, or smelting iron, which requires constructing a furnace and finding iron ore. Notch also implemented a Stats system that measures particular data such as how many hours the player has played, the number of blocks they've created or destroyed, and so on.

As well as this, the overall commercial success of Minecraft is inspiring: despite having no publisher and only being advertised through word-of-mouth, the total sales of Minecraft's versions up to and including Beta was estimated at $33 mil in April 2011. Mojang also recieved pride of place at E3 2011, where they announced that versions of the game would be coming to the Xperia Play and Xbox 360 Arcade.

Implementing Achievements could have been seen as jumping on the bandwagon of console systems like the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, but having a split between Stats and Achievements seems to demonstrate Notch's strong awareness of game design principles - he's not being reactionary and simply tacking features on to follow the lead of Sony and Microsoft, he's giving actual willed attention to the features that get added to the game. Not only that, but Notch's knowledge of what makes a good game comes through in every element of Minecraft to the extent that his sales are phenomenal. If Mojang maintains this awareness towards enriching the game with each feature added, we could have an even more dynamic and evolved gameplay experience when the full game is released.

Lego Pioneer

This review only concentrates on the stuff I have first-hand experience with - there's still so much to discover about the game, such Multiplayer mode and being able to customise the game through Texture Packs and Mods. Minecraft is still technically in Beta, and what you pay for is what you get - an unfinished game. Notch has claimed that the full version will be released on 11/11/11, and will be being updated continually as long as there is a large userbase for it. But even in its unfinished state, it's well worth the £13-ish it sells for, and it's so compelling and addictive as it is right now that it's hard to imagine how immense and exciting the final product will be.

12 June 2011

[myGameDev] Caledonian Summer Game Jam 2011

Over the past few days I've been taking part in a week-long Game Jam, where the goal is to make a game in just five days, organised by the course instructors. This is a small chronicle of what that week was like, and what I think I got out of taking part. If you'd like to download our game, The Rapture, unzip the file here and run the .exe (works best on 800x600 resolution). Comments are very welcome!

Day One - Inception & Design

The first day of the Game Jam involved a good number of students from each year of the course coming in to form teams and begin planning their game. As there were only a handful of first years, most of whom were all friends anyway, myself and the other first years decided we'd band together and make a somewhat large seven-person team: me, Chelsea, Leanne, Suneil, Robert, Reiss, and Alisdair. We were then given a theme which we could build our game concept around - "frenemies: friends and enemies" (though we did not necessarily need to stick to it if we had a game we really wanted to pursue). We were then given a half-hour to generate ideas: Chelsea had come up with the idea of a game where the player plays as God during the Rapture, taking Saints and Sinners from Earth and placing them either in Heaven or Hell, and we happily settled on that idea.

Most of the day revolved around some administration and then designing the game. We made a schedule so that everyone could indicate times during the week where they wouldn't be able to work on the game, as well as setting up an online group for us to contact each other, a shared Dropbox folder where we could pass around our work and share it between home computers and the games lab on campus, and a group blog where we could journal how the game was going. Other teams set up their own blogs too, a list of which can be found on Brian's first entry on the Game Jam here. We also decided on a name for our team - which was "Bodily Harm" until we realised we might get some really weird followers on our blog, until we settled on "Team Nyan", in reference to one of the greatest Internet memes of all time, and a name for our game: "The Rapture." Clear, concise and catchy.

We settled down in the university's social area and threw ideas around, discussed and debated particular methods of gameplay and after a couple of hours decided upon the core mechanics of our game: the player uses the mouse to click on sprites of saints and sinners who are randomly spawn and wander about on the game screen - clicking on them takes them off the screen and sends them to Heaven or Hell, depending on what mode the player is currently in. Sending Saints to Heaven and Sinners to Hell nets you points, but putting Saints in Hell or Sinners in Heaven makes you lose points, and as the levels of The Rapture progress, it becomes more difficult to accurately click on the Saints and Sinners as they mill about faster, or their sprites become smaller, and so on. Players win each level by sorting all of the saints and sinners, gaining points for whether they are in the right place, and advance to the next level; they lose if they are too slow with sorting the souls into the right place and the screen becomes overpopulated. As the game goes on, the player gets access to special effects in the form of "Miracles" which clear the screen of a certain type of soul, or entirely. After this, we made a list of the daily goals we'd have to reach over the course of the week:

  1. Designing the Game
  1. Building a Prototype
  1. Building the 1st Iteration
  1. Testing/ Building the Second Iteration
  1. Testing/Finishing the Game.

Lastly, with our game pencilled out, we went to the games lab, sorted ourselves into roles, and began work. Chelsea and myself worked on game art assets, Suneil and Leanne were in charge of audio, music, and updating the blog, and Reiss, Robert and Alisdair were programming the game itself. Before 5pm, we had already reached the first milestone we had set for ourselves (which was simply to design the game), and had gotten an early start on the next.

Day Two - Prototype

For all of Tuesday, the group worked towards building a prototype for The Rapture. For me, this meant designing the Graphic User Interface (GUI) for the game. To quote what I wrote over on my first post on my team's Game Jam blog:

The Graphic User Interface may not be the first thing that comes to mind when one has to think of what makes a great game - but it can certainly contribute to making a bad game if it's implemented inefficiently. The GUI is what seperates the player from the game itself, and as such it acts as an translator or intermediary: or, in keeping with our theme, an intercessor, allowing for a communication between the player and game. The player must be provided some means of providing an input to the game, and also to have a way to have information output back to them. In terms of our game, our input is mouse-clicks (to select souls to send to Heaven or Hell) and pressing the spacebar (to switch between Heaven Mode and Hell Mode, allowing the player to choose where to send them); our output is the game screen itself (of course), as well as the quantity and type (Saint or Sinner) of souls in Heaven and Hell, the player's score, and whether or not they're in Heaven Mode or Hell Mode. Feedback is pivotal in a user interface, not only in terms of the information about the game session regarding score, time remaining or similar, but also in the way the player manipulates the user interface: if a buttonpress does not come with some kind of feedback, the player will be at a loss to determine if the game actually received the buttonpress - this can be easily rectified by playing an appropriate sound (aural feedback), animation (visual feedback) or physical sensation like vibration (haptic feedback) when the button is pressed. All of these things must be represented in a user interface to make sure the player has the most rewarding experience possible when interacting with the game. Phew.

Day Three - Iteration 1

Day three was more GUI designs: I designed the GUI for the levels themselves, as well as for the menu system.

Day Four - Iteration 2

Day four was yet more GUI work, this time tweaking the numbers for GUI elements' dimensions and co-ordinates just to make the overall layout look more professional.

Day Five - Final Product

The final day went by pretty quickly, helped in part by the fact that we had met most of our milestones during the week. I was half-expecting that by Friday we'd be trying to catch up with the goals we had set, but in fact we'd managed to keep ahead all the way throughout the project, which was amazing. We lagged a bit towards the end of the day - partially 'cause we had finished everything we needed to, and partially because we had a mini group party near the end of the day for one of our team-members, Leanne, who had had a birthday recently. There was cake, irn-bru and pringles involved - afterwards, everyone was too full of deliciousness to feel up to tinkering with the game any further (except Suneil, who spent a while working on an ark with animals inside for the Flood animation).


In summary, I can honestly say without a hint of hesitation that the game jam was not only enjoyable, it was entirely successful too. It was amazing working in a team that didn't flag behind as the days went on, and who were all motivated to making the game the best they could -- part of that was because we had all opted into the Game Jam and sacrificed our own time for it, so the only people there were folk who really wanted to get something done, and I think it really showed.

I learned a fair bit about working in a team - especially since I was working alongside people I hadn't worked with before - and about Unity and Photoshop, as there were various tips and tricks I picked up just from having been experimenting with new ways to get particular tasks finished.

I also learned that I really need to brush up on my visual design skills - the GUI of The Rapture was good in some places, but I found it very finicky designing an interface that would look good in all resolutions; as well as that, while I feel that a number of the textures and icons I designed were good on their own, when they were combined, the overall theme lacked a sense of visual coherence and synergy, and due to the underuse of borders on my part, often looked somewhat unprofessional.

All in all, though, it was a great experience, and were it not for the fact that I'm utterly exhausted, I would take part next week, too - though I am definitely taking part in the Global Game Jam next Winter. So, without further ado, I think I'll get some well-deserved rest. Goodnight!