Name: David Levine
Type of project: Virtual Reality Game Development (Artistic and Creative Endeavors)
- Description of project
The goal of my project was to teach myself how to develop virtual reality video games. To do this, I began by building a PC to support virtual reality development. From there, I taught myself how to use a game development engine called Unity through an online course and a wide variety of tutorials. I used the knowledge there to develop two different video games.
- What understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP signature project?
This experience helped me learn much more about my ability to lead myself through my own projects. For one of the first times in my life, I had to take the broad topic of game development, and figure out how to develop reachable goals and deadlines that would span from May to August. By doing this, I was given the opportunity to become conscientious of managing my own projects. This helped me realize that I am more than capable of leading myself through my own projects, which is an important skill to have for any career field. Additionally, this project gave me actual experience conceptualizing ideas and bringing them to life through programming in Unity, which is not something I had necessarily done before. As a result, I found out how fun and exciting it is to implement features in my game, as it was always very rewarding when I would successfully develop a new game mechanic. Lastly, I always viewed myself as an uncreative person. However, by completing this project, I realized that I can be creative if I put my mind to it.
- What events, interactions, relationships, or activities during your STEP Signature project led to the change/transformation you discussed in #2, and how did those affect you?
To begin the project (besides building the computer), I had to sit down and think about how I would be working through my project. After all, I had to have some sort of plan for the upcoming months. Therefore, I decided that my first activity should be planning out the entire project. I began by watching videos about beginning game design, and learning about the conceptual processes that go into making a game. From there, I was able to figure out how I should plan games and used this to roadmap my development over the next two months. This planning helped give me a greater understanding of project planning, and showed me that it is possible to create your own plans and stick to them. As a result, I have greater confidence in starting larger projects on my own, and have a better idea of how I would complete them.
Developing my own game mechanics was also incredibly rewarding. When you’re learning to problem solve in the classroom, there is usually much more frustration involved when working through challenging problems that are assigned to you than there is excitement. However, the dynamic significantly changes when you solve problems that you give to yourself! For example, when I was working on my second game, I was trying to create a weapon switching mechanism that would allow you to throw your hands behind your head and squeeze the grips on the controller to switch from a bow and arrow to guns, and vice versa. While spending the time making these systems can be tedious, nothing is quite as rewarding as testing your system and seeing it work exactly as intended. Every time I finished adding something to my game and see it work, I couldn’t help but feel incredibly joyed. Because of these many experiences, I realized that developing solutions to problems you want to solve is incredibly rewarding!
Lastly, I got more experience expressing myself creatively. This extends into a lot of facets of my project, mostly by figuring out how to program different systems and by figuring out what type of game I wanted to make. In terms of creativity programing, a lot of the systems I programmed involved me thinking about how I could creatively use the tools in Unity to simulate some feature in my game. Additionally, just the act of thinking about what game I wanted to make can be creative. I remember deciding to make a game where you must teleport between trees while monsters fall from the sky and try to destroy the tree you’re on. If you fall and hit the ground, you plummet into lava and its game over. While incredibly nonsensical, it was fun nonetheless to make and even more fun to think about making. This gave me the confidence to realize that I could be creative as long as I am willing to put in the effort!
- Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life?
Ultimately this change gives me the confidence in pursuing larger personal goals. Now that I have more experience undertaking larger projects with no guidance, I feel inspired to do similar, longer learning experiences where I teach myself other skills through more planned projects. Since I am a Computer Science Engineering major, being able to teach yourself skills and learn things on your own is a vital part of one’s future. This also extends to professional settings as well; if I can figure out how to develop with new skills or technologies, this will only improve my competencies as a worker. Because of my STEP project, I was finally able to lead myself through my own long-term project while developing useful skills along the way.
Developed Video Games: