1. What kinds of learning opportunities does the mentor provide to expose you to new learning?
While I got my mentor late into the project and have met up with them just two times now, they have given me resources and concepts to discover during those meetings. My mentor shared a helpful website called Kenney [https://www.kenney.nl/assets] in our first meeting. The website contains countless free game assets that can be downloaded and directly used in my Unity game. The steps are simple and only require you to import the game asset(s) you have downloaded into the game hierarchy/assets. While I plan on creating my game assets – or at least the majority of them – it will still be valuable to look at examples done by a professional to understand what makes a good and attractive game asset. Beyond valuable resources, my mentor has helped me view my project through a more detailed lens. While questioning details of my game that I had not previously thought of on my own, Jason introduced new concepts to me (or features I had little experience with). An example of that is when my mentor mentioned Input Systems in Unity. I had only heard about Input Systems and not thought of it as a realistic option for my game, but through talking with Jason and researching the concept on the Unity website and other sources, I learned that it is a technique I can use. (As my game will be 2D, I have opted against using a controller extension for my game. Although 2D games can be played using controllers- think of the classic Donkey Kong or Pac-Man games – I am used to playing 2D games with a mouse or keyboard. There is also plenty of room to experiment and play with input systems from the mouse/keyboard. All in all, between valuable resources and new concepts to explore, my mentor has provided me with considerable learning opportunities.
2. What kinds of learning opportunities exist to reinforce new learning?
While there are multiple ways for me to reinforce my learning – like researching to study the theory – the most effective way to do so is by practicing techniques. By focusing on and reviewing basics like animation, I can carve out an easier path for myself in the future. Practice can be done in the Unity game I will be using or in different “rough drafts” as I have been doing. Furthermore, by creating assets and using several tools (Photopea, Photoshop, Pixlr) to make them, I can become more familiar with the theory behind the process rather than becoming too attached to the layout of one app. So, by using a variety of tools and mapping out the commonality between them, I can reinforce my theoretical and practical learning.
3. What kinds of opportunities exist that might accelerate learning?
To accelerate my learning, I can incorporate more tutorials when practicing the skills I have learned. By increasing the amount of practice I put in, my learning would be accelerated as well. Lastly, I can try to figure out which concepts are essential for my learning and which are less valuable. Then, I will be able to invest my time wisely and cut down on the total time I spend by knowing which concepts are unnecessary.
4. When you get together what do you talk about?
When I meet with my mentor, we talk about how much progress I made and if I think that I am on the right path. At the end of each meeting, we set goals for me to accomplish by the next meeting, so my mentor checks in to see that I was able to achieve my goal from the last check-in. During meetings, I ask my mentor any questions I have, though I also send him e-mails whenever a question pops up. From that basic structure, we usually go on tangents and discuss different concepts/techniques that might be related to my game.
5. What is going particularly well in your mentoring relationship right now?
In my mentorship relationship so far, communication has been going very well. We have been able to set up weekly meetings and converse via e-mail in addition as well. Thanks to the smooth communication, it has been easier to progress my learning and project, and clear any questions I have.
6. What are you learning about one another?
Through our weekly meetings, I learned more about the type of work my mentor has dealt with in the past related to game development. I found out that he is a certified Unity instructor who works at the Unity headquarters. Rather unfortunately, I also learned that my mentor does not have as much experience with visual scripting as he does coding with C# or C++. However, he does have some experience with visual scripting, and as the theory behind visual scripting and written scripting is very much the same, there should not be too many obstacles. In terms of character/personality, I learned that my mentor is very detailed and organized. For example, my mentor establishes a schedule for our meetings and asks questions about my project/learning that I did not think of before. My mentor is also patient, something I felt when he explained how to download and sync several applications. Throughout the process, he explained all the steps in detail and made sure I had understood everything before moving on to the next steps.