May 11, 2008

Justifiable Blogicide

Well, it's clearly been a while since this site had anything close to regular posting, up on to about two weeks now I think. The end of last term was a whirlwind of work and exhaustion and so writing just sort of fell by the wayside as I struggled to get everything done on time. Then, during vacation, I definitely had the time available to write, but I was simply investing all that time into R&R and writing hadn't even occurred to me. Anyway, here I am now, and hopefully things should be getting back to usual as the term revs up. I guess I'll start with a quick recap of the last couple weeks.

As I said, the end of term was crazy, final deadlines in TGP and DFS and final exams in my other classes, not to mention organizing the wrap party for our TGP teams (along with Jane, of course). All's well that ends well though, I did exceptionally well on my exams and DFS, and the Extinction RTM delivery went off with only minor hitches. Most notably, the last night of integration was a bit crazy and things we actually had fixed or changed somehow didn't make it into the final version. Still, the final game ended up being solid and enjoyable, and a distinct departure from standard Unreal which was a goal for all the departments.

Similarly, there are still plenty of things I'd like to improve upon for my DFS (which I may update at some point), but the final product was still pretty impressive all things considered. I'm definitely getting better at scoping things out, though I'd say my DFS was still I bit beyond what I could reasonably do in the time available. Anyway, everyone that's seen it, including the professor, has been very complimentary so I think that's a good sign. My other finals were relatively easy so I did well there.

The only other notable thing from last term were the Gearbox interviews, which as far as I know no one has really heard anything about. Supposedly it was only going to take about a week to figure things out, but beyond some of the programmers being asked for follow-up interviews, no one really knows what's up. I'm not sure what I want to do with this summer, or if the internship is even the best thing for me, but I would like to know one way or the other so I can start figuring out what it is I am going to be doing. The break after this term is the last big chance to work on stuff outside of school, so I intend to take advantage of it as much as possible. Several companies I would like to work for have specific requirements on portfolio materials, so I need to start figuring out who I am targeting and how ASAP.

Break was very nice, though not nearly long enough. One week was just about enough time to get over this last term, but not enough to really recharge and get prepared for the next one. I know it sounds a bit odd to those of you in the workforce who get 2 or 3 weeks all year, but I feel like the end of last term felt something akin to returning from war. Granted, I have never been to war and I don't really mean to compare my situation to something which is clearly far more grave and traumatic, but I feel like the weariness or "shell-shock" is at least similar. Actually, the shell-shock point is an interesting one, because I think I experienced it to a certain extent toward the end of my break as I started contemplating my return to the Guildhall. I'm fine now and mostly prepared to start the new term, but I definitely did not want to come back a few days ago.

I don't mean to speak ill of the Guildhall in general, I actually think it has done a remarkable job of preparing me for my coming career. It's just the intensity that sometimes scares me and ultimately feels a bit unnecessary. Though I think last term was even more intense than they had intended. Looking at the C9 level designers during last term, I think it was clear to everyone that something was fundamentally wrong. We were tired and broken, one or all of us had seriously considered quitting at least once, and I still am not sure exactly how I made it through. The last couple weeks feel almost like a dream or a nightmare my mind had taken great pains to block from my memory.

Anyway, I'm sure I could go on and on about what I do and don't like about the Guildhall (as I have already), but overall I think the preparation is top-notch if you can endure it, and I think they are working to make enduring it easier on future cohorts, for whatever that's worth. As for me, I think I am mostly ready to being my next term and I continue hoping for the best in this term and beyond. Now, I am going to enjoy my last few hours of freedom. Night all!

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