I had an idea for my blog title earlier, but I forgot it, and now I’m annoyed.

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You’ve changed!

Yeah… the level has come on a fair bit since last week. We’ve all been working super hard. At the start of the week I was feeling really frustrated because it seemed like I’d had loads going on and no chance to do any work. I did have a fair bit to distract me. A lot of it was little things such as going to work or Valentines Day plans (God, how terrible for me… earning money and having a nice day with Jonah). Since Wednesday I haven’t had anything to do apart from uni work though, so it’s been full steam ahead.

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A visit to the British Library.

Monday was another day that got in the way of making assets for our level, as I went to the British Library in London for a day as part of the OTM competition. It was a chance to take a look at resources for the competition in the flesh and ask some of the judges questions. It was really interesting and I totally fell in love with these huge books filled with hand coloured illustrations of Dutch estate gardens. The colours were stunning.

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I came back from the Library with a clearer view of what we would need to improve about our level, in particular referencing materials from the British library more carefully. Little things such as the house model’s stone wall texture, which didn’t fit in with 1800’s Oxford, I had to go back and re-evaluate. I ended up re-doing the stone, and I much prefer it now. It works better both in terms of how it looks in-engine, and how it fits in the world in that time period.

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Our level already has a lot more going on since last week, particularly with regards to foliage. I have made an Elm tree, some bullrushes, and some daisies more recently which are working nicely to pad out the initially barren ground. All of these are plants that are either referenced in the Alice books or would have been growing in England at the time the Alice books were written. We found out what these were thanks to the resources provided.

We also have some other really cool assets going on, like a water fountain with flowing water. It’s very pretty. This is going to become a big jumping puzzle with a reward at the top, like I painted in my concepts.

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After looking at the British Library books more closely, there are a few changes I want to consider making to the design of our walled gardens which will reference the books more closely and look awesome. This may involve drawing up a new concept or two to get my thinking down on paper… It won’t be anything major, just considering the shape of flowerbeds and such more carefully so that we’re using the information I gathered to its full advantage and making it more historically accurate.

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I really love the colours in the books, as I mentioned above. This is something I found myself wanting to implement in our level more, and to be honest so far our level has had a similar rich colour scheme to some of the books I saw. The assets I in particular have made have been very saturated colour-wise and match the illustrations quite well. It would be a really lovely connection to the books, and would look good. It is something that needs more discussion with the team first, however.

Our organisation within the group has definitely improved after I brought up my concerns with our mentor/allocated tutor person, Emma, and we had a meeting as a group. WE DECIDED ON A GROUP NAME, which is something that had been really bothering me. You can call us ‘This Way That Way’ now; a reference to the famous confused sign in Alice in Wonderland, which we are also including in our game.

We now also have a very in-depth asset list with allocated tri-budgets and stuff, but we still haven’t organised our actual time yet, so that is something we need to get on with. Before we know it 8 weeks will be up and then we’ll decide to budget our time properly! It’s definitely a start though, and a weight off my shoulders. I’m finding my trust in the group building as these guys continue to surprise me with their awesomeness. There are so many things I’ve learned that I wouldn’t have thanks to them, and things they have done that I kind of assumed I would end up doing at first. I’m very unused to working with new people, so I admit I have been unsure and maybe a little distrusting about what to expect from them. But I really am pleased with how we are doing.

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The Alice in Wonderland exhibition will be a free exhibition as part of the British Library, and the winning OTM entry will be placed in this exhibition. It’s really interesting, because the exhibition is going to show the very original version of Alice, all the way up to the latest interpretation; a student game. Everything in-between will feature, which is amazing. To see how both technologies and interpretations of a single story can change over just 150 years is crazy. I can’t wait to see what the other entries are like, and of course how our project turns out.

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