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    Hamburg Internship #8: Week 7 – Differences and Respect

    Posted on Tuesday, February 21st, 2012 by Malin

    This week was the week I was finally going to present my game to the CEO of the company.

    Me and my concept artist worked hard, and I must be honest; a little bit of arguments ensued. These turned out to be more like discussions however, and it was one of the most professional and opinion-accepting argument I’ve ever had with someone while working on a project.

    The argument at hand was as in most cases, about time. I could not afford having him rendering one image to perfection with different light sources and what-not when I needed 3 more of them for the presentation, but I completely understood why he needed to. It’s his work and he wants to be proud of it, especially if it’s being presented to the CEO! In the end we both made compromises, and I’ve never felt as okay and guilt-ridden after an argument has ended as I did then.

    It was a good one, and I realize now more than ever that it is very important to have an open dialogue with your co-workers if you disagree on something. What most people forget is that the respect has to be there though and this time it really was, making it to a perfect discussion without hurt feelings or name-calling.

    (There’s lots of crap that can happen if the respect isn’t there, and I bet most of you know exactly what I’m talking about. Thank god for failed game projects during college! You truly learn how to handle and love a “good” disagreement.)

    Speaking of the CEO however, he unluckily did not have the time. Nevertheless, I got to present it to the Lead Programmer of the company and the Lead Game Designer. They were kind enough to offer feedback from the presentation, and some time next week I am hoping to present to the CEO as well.

    While waiting a guy came up with an idea and asked me if I thought it was possible. I got intrigued, and asked if I could write a few stories with his limitations in mind, and set off to work. Two scribbled stories later, I think I am on to something, but not really satisfied with the stories. I might write a third one. Hmmm!


    Categories: Hamburg | No Comments »

    Hamburg Internship #7: Week 6 – Back and Forth

    Posted on Tuesday, February 21st, 2012 by Malin

    Some times things don’t really go your way. This is definitely true when it comes to the game industry. Things always change; sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.
    What you need to do is to move on, and keep looking forward.

    Due to time management, I was not able to write dialogue for a game I thought I could. This sucks, as the most fun with writing character sheets is to put them into good use, but as the game is in German and translating my dialogue from English into German takes a lot of time, I understand completely.

    For an artist, I guess it might be as being given a thumbnail, then put line-art to it, and a bit of color. You’re just about to render it with shadows and highlights and alter it a bit, but your program only saves in a file that can’t be used and converting it on another computer would take too much time.

    However, I am still thinking of different scenarios for the characters as well as character sheets. One of the most interesting ones made me research Kleptomania and strive against making him the stereotypical character I saw in my mind, since it was so apparent. It was hard, and I hated him at first. However, I worked hard, and was happy with the result in the end. He can stand alone and isn’t confused with other people that are just like him.

    Challenge time!

    Want to do what I did? Imagine an elf, dwarf, computer… And make them into something original. I know you see a happy, harp-playing elf in your mind, or another Legolas, so how can you change it into something else?

    Think of all the stereotypes you know, write them up, take bits and pieces you like, and then either alter them… Or create something that is the exact opposite.

    A few of my favorites of this is the dwarfs in Dragon Age: Origins that are scared of falling into the sky, or Marvin the Paranoid Android from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy that is more or less the opposite of happy-going C3PO from Star Wars.

     

    In other news,

    This week was an emotional roller coaster not only because of work, but because of the fact that I needed to find a new room to stay at. I sent many many many e-mails, often getting replies as “You sound like a great person, but I don’t speak English very well. Sorry, good luck.” BUT, some of them actually wanted to meet me. “I don’t speak English very well, BUT, you sound so nice, so let’s try! BTW, I love Sweden!”

    I talked with a colleague that went to 3 appointments a day for a whole week to finally find one room. Only one out of them accepted him. He’s a guy, but he knows German. I’m a girl from Sweden, but I don’t know German.
    I think it was the Sweden part that made me win, otherwise we would have been on the same playing field. Thank you, heritage. Thank you, gender parts.

    It really felt like job interviews. Very tiring. All of them had people I could see myself living with, but the rent in most of them made my economical heart cry. I decided to go with the cheapest one; not only because of the rent but also because I could really see myself living there. I was a bit early so I walked around in the neighborhood, and it felt good. So did the room mates; two guys who probably knew more English than I did! Their accent was excellent American, and after saying I wanted to learn German they even offered to put notes on all of the kitchen’s supplies, saying “You’ll learn German in no time!” SO CUTE.

    One of them even listened to Tool. I mean come on, that has too be a good reason if anything! *wink*


    Categories: Hamburg | No Comments »

    Hamburg Internship #6: Week 5 – Other Projects Await

    Posted on Thursday, February 9th, 2012 by Malin

    You know when your project comes to a halt; everything is planned, everything is written, but you’re stuck thanks to the fact that you’ve done everything you can at your end? That was pretty much me this week. I felt useless and a bit annoyed. There was nothing I could do to push it forward, I just had to sit and wait while others did their work.

    And that is the way of a Narrative/Game Designer. In the beginning and the end of a project there is lots to do, but in the middle all you can do is wait.

    WELL I don’t like waiting as I hate feeling useless. Instead, I got in contact with a guy at the company and asked him if I could help him out with writing things, and he gave me a shot. I was to create a relationship between two very different people that sell very different things in the same store for his game. FUN. I ended up writing 4 filled A4 pages excluding scribbles and notes I had on a paper, and searching for names.

    Thanks to the sketches of the characters that already existed along with knowing some of the scenarios the characters would be put in, it was very easy to get into a mindset and just pump out text.

    It does need revision however – first drafts are always a bit “over the place”.

     

    What I do when it comes to characters is this:

    1. Search for inspiration. This can be an already thought-up character of your own/a books/a movie/someone you know from real life, or maybe a piece of music, a psychological disorder, a picture… It’s endless.
    2. Write a few keywords about the character, see what sticks.
    3. Think up a name that goes with the image you have of your character (big plus if you actually draw one, or have someone to draw for you!)
    4. Write a little more.
    5. Got stuck? Write up questions that your text has given you, and try answering them.
    6. If you can’t, take a break. Next day you might have a new perspective.
    7. Write, doodle, think!
    8. Re-write it on a clean sheet of paper.

    There’s probably more I don’t consciously think about, but if I do, I’ll give an update.


    Categories: Hamburg | No Comments »