Football Tryouts

In late May, I tried out for the Nepean Eagles football team, which is the team I have been playing with for the past three years. They have just changed their name from the Nepean Redskins due to concern from many Aboriginal people that the name was racist. I was a bit nervous trying out this year because I moved up in age category to Bantam, which is for 15 and 16 year-olds. Some of the guys who are 16 are really good players and extremely big so I wasn’t sure if I would make it.

To prepare for the try-outs, I have been working out 2-3 times per week the past four months with Greco Lean ‘n Fit in Barrhaven. They have been helping me build muscle bulk and improving my aerobic endurance through circuit training-type exercises, sort of like Cross-Fit. A bunch of guys from my football team last year went to these Greco sessions with me as did our coach so we all got fit together, which is the way Greco prefers to organize these sessions – almost like a community event.

One of the many Greco gyms around Ottawa. Taken from here.

One of the many Greco gyms around Ottawa. Taken from here.

When we got to the first tryout, I was really excited. They first had all the different age groups together to warm up. This year we were led by one of the Ottawa Redblacks players. This guy was huge and looked like a wall! After we had finished stretching, the different age groups split up and went to different fields. Since this was the first night, we all had different tests to test out our agility, speed and strength.

 

This tryout was a whole different experience from previous years. This time everyone was bigger, faster and stronger. I was one of the biggest guys on my team last year, while this year I was one of the smallest. Some guys were 6feet, 6 inches – I’m not kidding! There were also some fat guys who weighed around 280 pounds.

I would be lying to say I was not intimidated. When we started the combine, I could tell the Greco training was paying off. I was faster and stronger than a lot of the other guys. The second night was more about skill-based drills to see how well we could throw, catch and tackle. On the first drill, when we were going over the bags I landed on my ankle funny and heard a loud crack. I could tell immediately something was not right. There was a throbbing pain and I could barely stand. I didn’t want to go tell the trainer (who happened to be my dad) about my ankle because I was afraid the coaches would cut me if they thought I was hurt. So I sucked it up for the rest of the practice.

My new team name. Taken from here.

My new team name. Taken from here.

At the end of the practice, I took off my cleat and experienced a lot of pain. My cleat was keeping it compressed so when it was removed, it started to swell. Ice didn’t do too much as it was very swollen but my mom gave me a double dose of Advil, elevated it and put ice packs all around it for a couple of hours. The next day at school it felt even worse. The walk from the bus to school felt like an eternity.

Sprained ankle digram. Taken from here.

Sprained ankle digram. Taken from here.

The third night was just a touch football game but I didn’t know how I was going to do it. My ankle felt like a bulldozer had run over it. I sucked it up and ran around and played as well as I could. At the end of practice, I went home and yet again my ankle was swollen to a size of a baseball. Fortunately, I did make the first cut and I now have several weeks to rest my ankle before conditioning starts this summer. I learned a lot during those two nights about how to work through pain as I have not had a sprained ankle like this before. It’s a good feeling to know that you can draw on your inner strength when you need to, which I believe is a good lesson for life in general.

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Red Orchestra 2

Today I am going to talk about a video game I tend to play a lot called Red Orchestra 2. If you haven’t heard of it, ensure you check out their website. This game is definitely worth a look if you haven’t played it before.

 

Red Orchestra 2 is a fast-paced WWII action game. It is very different from most of the games of its genre. Its spawning system is different from other similar games and its gun and combat systems are also different.

 

The spawn system is also different from many of its competitors. You have a choice where to spawn. You can spawn at two different points on the left and right of the map. This makes reinforcements more realistic as they are not spawning at random areas. You can also spawn on your squad leader but only if he is alive.

Red Orchestra 2 gameplay. Picture taken from here.

Red Orchestra 2 gameplay. Picture taken from here.

The combat system is also very different than other first person shooters. Only one bullet is all that is needed to kill you. If you get graced or hit in one of the limbs, you can bandage yourself. You only have two bandages so you have to be careful. If you get hit, instead of dying straight away, you will start to bleed slowly.

Red Orchestra 2 gameplay. Picture taken from here.

Red Orchestra 2 gameplay. Picture taken from here.

The game modes are also different. There is an attacking team and a defending team. The defending team has to protect the points as best as they can by trying to keep out attackers, while keeping men in the point. Whatever team has the most men captures the point. The attackers need to capture both points to move on to the next point. This is hard because sometimes they have to hold one point, and then try to capture the other point.

 

The weapons are also very different. You have a choice when you enter the game in terms of which class of weapon. There are only a certain amount of classes that can be chosen per team to ensure for example that a team is not all filled with machine gunners. Each class is very important. If you are a machine gunner you need to hold the flanks and lay down fire. If you are a squad leader you need to throw smoke and mark artillery targets for the commander.

Class System in Red Orchestra 2. Picture Taken from here.

Class System in Red Orchestra 2. Picture Taken from here.

Whats Next for Me

One of my future goals is to create a video game. I loved learning about game design this term so I want to continue building on my knowledge and build more games. I felt confident this term designing my own game using Construct 2. Of course, using Construct 2 is limiting since it is only 2D and it’s a free engine so it does not have as many features as some other engines that I could purchase. I want to create the new game in the Unreal Engine so the game looks beautiful and realistic.

Game b

Game being designed in Unreal Engine. Picture Taken from here.

I also would like to learn a lot more tools and skills to make a bigger and better game than the one I have now. I am going to need some help from some of my friends or even hire someone to assist me. Of course it is not going to be a big budget game like Call of Duty or Battlefield. You’re probably thinking I can’t do this. However, there are many indie-produced games like The Forest, which was designed with the Unreal Engine.

The Forest gameplay. Taken from here.

The Forest gameplay. Taken from here.

Another project I want to start involves making design logos for start-up companies. I really enjoyed making logos in class. I liked putting my own unique design on the logos and the process of reiterating them to make them even better than they were originally. I think that making logos for other companies would be fun and perhaps a way to make money.

 

The last project I have thought about is creating website designs for anyone who wants a website. I am really fascinated with websites and web design. I love making all types of websites, regardless if they are for companies or even personal websites for fun.

Web Design. Taken from here

Web Design. Taken from here.

Reflecting on the course

Now that were almost done with this course, I think it is time to reflect on the past two months. I had a great time with this course; not only was it fun but it also taught me a lot about key aspects of design, animation and video games. I enjoy gaming and thought I knew everything about games and game design but I realized that I didn’t because I learned many new things about game design in this course.

 

Some things I liked about the course were the discussions in class. We had some fun and interesting conversations in class that I never had before in other subjects, which are more mainstream. We discussed many topics and subjects over the two months.

 

Another thing I liked was the hands on learning that we did in class. With every unit we did hands on learning and not just learning from a textbook. I like this method because you experience and have fun while learning. Mr. LaForce showed us how to follow along in class rather than reading from a textbook. He also showed us how to use Construct 2.

 

Another thing I liked was the incorporation of technology into the class. We watched Ted Talks, used GIMP to design logos and print design, got to see how to use a 3D printer, etc. I think we never got bored because there was so many different ways to learn and we were always on the edge of our seats wondering what kind of lesson we would have next.

Mark the Librarian at imagine Space. Picture Taken from here

Mark the Librarian at imagine Space. Picture Taken from here

I would have liked to have seen a bit more time dedicated to game design. I feel like the game design unit was a little rushed since it was the last unit and we had to wrap up things quickly. I would have also liked a game day to learn the history of games and play some popular game.

Game design concepts. Picture Taken From here.

Game design concepts. Picture Taken From here.

I also feel like a little too much time was spent on the design unit. I know that design is a very big part of technology but I think we could have cut the time down by one week and spend more time on animation and game design.

Concepts of Design. Picture taken from here.

Concepts of Design. Picture taken from here.

Overall, I really enjoyed this course and had a lot of fun over the past two months. The combination of a great teacher and great learning materials and the chance to use new technology made this course unique and one to remember. I hope to continue with some of the projects in the future that I started on in this course.

Fields I am Interested In

There are a lot of fields I am interested in that were part of this course. One of those fields is game design because I love video games. The game industry has grown rapidly over the past few years. People are starting to buy video games more often and at all different ages. There are many more different types of games available today than there was many years ago.

 

There are many reasons why I love video games. The first reason is that they have an experience that no other type of entertainment can provide. Movies show you the story but it is from one point of view. Video games, even though they have the same start and end, are always very different. You get to choose and control the character from start to end and make decisions throughout. Video games also show empathy and let you experience other peoples’ lives and stories. You can be a wizard to a solider to a professional athlete – the experiences are limitless.

Team Fortress 2 Picture Taken from here.

Team Fortress 2 Picture Taken from here.

 

If I had to choose a specific job I would choose Level designer. I enjoy making levels and designing them to make it a challenge for the player. I choose this because when I was making my game in class I had to design a lot of levels. When I was designing these levels, I had to think what the player would do and how much of a challenge it would be for them if a level is too fast and short as the player would be annoyed or if it’s too hard, they will give up early

A VERY hard Mario level. Picture taken from here.

A VERY hard Mario level. Picture taken from here.

I also enjoyed creating environments in games. The cool thing about game environments is the setting and environment can take place anywhere in the world, whether it be Manhattan or the Amazon. I also love interacting with environments such as fishing or hunting. The environment really sets what type of game you want and how good you want your game to be because if the environment sucks then the game will usually be not that great.

Far Cry 3 Picture taken from here.

Far Cry 3 Picture taken from here.

My Ideal Video Game

In an ideal world, my video game would look a lot different than the game I designed. My ideal game type would be Open World, which adds more emersion and experience to the person playing the game because they have more things to interact with, such as the environment.

 

I also think my game would be an MMO such as Skyrim and Fallout. The setting would be in the Wild West. You would start by choosing your race, kind of like Skyrim. The races would be White, Black, Chinese and First Nation. Then the characters and plot would fit to your specific race choice. If you choose First Nation, you would be able to see the abuse that white people did to First Nation people in the Wild West. If you choose Chinese, you would be working on the Canadian Pacific Railway, then escape and become free. It would show a lot the Wild West culture.

Skyrim Picture Taken from here.

Skyrim Picture Taken from here.

The environment would be fully interactive so that you can hunt, fish and train wild horses to ride. This would allow for endless possibilities when you are in the game so you wouldn’t get bored. The map would be big and have different biomes so you can explore a lot of the land.

 

I would try to make the gameplay as balanced as I could. Each race would feature different types of weapons for their own race, e.g., First Nations have bows and arrows. I would also try to include a combat system like Fallout with the health bar. There also is an all-interactive crating system to design and create your own weapons. I you have any two items; you can combine them together to create a new item.

Fallout New Vegas Picture Taken from here.

Fallout New Vegas Picture Taken from here.

I believe I exceeded the expectations as laid out in the design document for my own game. I actually exceeded my own expectations by quite a bit. I was expecting the graphics to be poor and sluggish but they actually turned out crisp, much like a Mario or Super Meat Boy game. I also expected the levels to be basic but they turned out a little more advanced and realistic.

 

I am proud of my game. It’s simple and addictive, much like many popular games such as Flappy Bird. I think this project turned out great and the levels aren’t too hard or easy. I am looking forward to designing new games and different genres in the future!

Flappy Bird Taken from here.

Flappy Bird Taken from here.

Ted Talks

TED TALKS!! We had to do Ted Talks in class today, focussing on our companies and products. If you haven’t seen my product website, check it out here. The Ted Talks were with my peer Adam. The video had to be fairly long so we had to plan a script and PowerPoint slides.

 

Previous to getting assigned to do the Ted Talk, I had seen a lot of Ted Talks. I have seen Ted Talks ranging from retired generals talking about leadership to movie directors speaking creatively. The different types and subjects of Ted Talks are endless.

 

I watch Ted Talks because they provide advice and solutions for a lot of common realistic problems. They also provide inspiration to me because some of these people talking are geniuses and one of a kind people. They also are interesting because of the range of speakers and topics. There are doctors, billionaires, entrepreneurs, military generals and game designers just to name a few. Some of the Ted Talks that inspired me were JJ Abrams and retired general Stanley McChrystal.

JJ Abrams Ted Talk. Taken from here.

JJ Abrams Ted Talk. Taken from here.

The easiest part of our Ted Talk was deciding what we were going to put on our script and talk about. Since we designed our product with the design thinking process it was fairly easy to come up with a Ted Talk because all we had was describe the steps and process we used to make our product.

 

A challenging part was creating the power point slides. My colleague took the lead on them but the day before we were going to present, I realized they were overcrowded. The slides are suppose to be easy to read and supportive and not a wall of text like what he had. So we had to go into the slides and redo them, all which took extra time. When we were done editing them, I was confident they were ready.

 

Power Point. Taken from here.

Power Point. Taken from here.

One of the other more challenging parts was speaking. Public speaking can be a bit of a challenge for me. I tend to speak too fast and have to slow down a lot of times. I also tend to mess up some words even though I am getting a lot better. One good thing with public speaking is that I don’t get nervous or freaked out when speaking in front of small or large crowds. I also am very enthusiastic and try to incorporate my whole body into speaking so I don’t look like a vegetable but more like a grasshopper.

 

I hope one day to speak in front of a crowd at a Ted Talk or similar event. I think it would be awesome to inspire just one person or even multiple people. I’m not too sure what I would say but I think my topic would be a life lesson or something positive