Train2Game News: A Holiday Blog – by Muir Halleron

Muir HalleronWinter is once more upon us, and with it comes celebrations and traditions as numerous and varied as a handful of Skittles. And just as colourful too!

Some of us are social animals and go out partying every night, staying up until the early hours of the dawn, visiting with friends and family and waking up with hangovers the next day. While others may prefer more solitary activities such as spending the evening with one or two loved ones cuddling on the sofa, sipping hot beverages while watching seasonal films.

We all celebrate this time of year differently, though I think you’ll agree that as students of Train2Game and lovers of all things to do with games and geekery, several of our traditions overlap in similarity.

How many of us, for example, plan to work on a game idea? Which of us will end up spending way too much money on various game sales? And how many of us plan to try to either catch up or get ahead on our Train2Game course?

Like many families, the winter holiday my son and I celebrate is Xmas. Our celebrations start at the beginning of the month with the opening of the first advent calendar window. In the evenings, we watch various dvd series starting with Harry Potter, followed by Doctor Who, all the way up to the reopening of school in January. The tree and decorations go up during the last week of school and healthy eating pretty much goes out the window for the month. Xmas Eve and Xmas day are, quite oddly, the two quietest days of the year in our home. On Xmas Eve, my son gets his stocking which is typically filled with dvds, chocolate, candy canes, and a few other small toys. Xmas morning, of course, is when he gets to open all the presents under the tree. As is his tradition, he gathers up all his unwrapped toys, takes them to his room and that’s the last I see of him all day, with the exception of meal times.

The evenings are of course for me and they vary widely from one night to the next, though they are pretty much what you would expect for a gaming student. Once the Steam sales start, my evening always begins by checking my (extremely large) wishlist to see if any of the games I want are on sale.

My first choice is to play a game. Currently I’m working on another playthrough of Fallout 3, with mods. I highly suggest the DCInteriors Project, Ties That Bind, and MTC Wasteland Travellers mods. They all really add to the base game by giving extra quests, companions, and making the world seem more populated and travelled.

If it’s getting too late in the evening or I feel like having an early night, I usually choose to read through part of a lesson in the game development course or work on any gaming ideas that I have. At the moment, I’m just getting ready to start on Section 2 Part B of my course which starts putting together all the theory I’ve been learning and shows something that I can actually type up in a computer program. This is something I’ve been looking forward to learning as I have several ideas for games, but I’m finding it difficult to actually program them in C++. Simply put, I know the basics in programing, but not how to put it all together into something that combines both graphics and code.

Which brings us to another holiday tradition – New Year resolutions or, as I prefer to call them, goals. Most people decide to lose weight, quit smoking or get out of debt. As for me, I think this year my goal will be to make and release one game. (And no, the T2G developer’s holiday card challenge doesn’t count!)

So what about you, dear reader and fellow student/game geek? What are your holiday traditions like? Are they similar or radically different to mine? What goals have you set yourself for the coming year? Please feel free to share.