July 24, 2018 Student Spotlight: Samuel Brewton
Samuel Brewton
Samuel Brewton

I had a blast learning game development with Sam Eng. For the first time in a long time, I felt that by being able to work in a 3D canvas I felt truly inspired. I had space, time, objects, and properties like material, weight, and light all at my disposal. Seeing the visual response to your code is a great way to learn because it is immediate gratification. The progression from making a side-scroller (or game with one dimension of interaction), to a two dimensional game, to a three dimensional game really allows you to build on your knowledge and new coding skills.

My foray into game development started a long time ago making levels in strategy games, and modding FPS PCs games. I had a friend whose dad made simulations for the USAF. We were offered to build a game for NASA. We said “yay” and then forgot about it while playing Unreal tournament LAN parties on conference room screens. It is gratifying to pick up a passion from your childhood.

There have been key times in my life where I tell myself “I should have played more games,” to know games better and to make games. That’s because gamers are early adopters and game developers are innovators. Games are some of the most complex programs and simulations humans make. This course helped break that complexity down into understandable fundamentals. This fundamental game engine development knowledge is essential to web designers and developers as we are seeing a shift in computing.

I created Fundamentals of Reality. We’re entering the dawn of spatial computing where digital experience is not defined by the rectangle of a phone or computer screen, but by the space around and the changing contexts we exist in. With this fundamental shift in how we interface with digital technology, the visual design systems will change. We need to define new design systems that use 3D objects in relation to the world around us. Fundamentals of Reality offers these building blocks in an environment that a viewer can walk around in as a Mac Application. As a user walks around this environment, they will encounter the elements for a future design system based on the physics engine, lighting and 3D rendering capabilities of Unity. These components include objects that react to Gravity, Force, or varying Mass. Additional feedback on objects comes in the form of Lighting, and Particles.  Fundamentals of Reality is also set of building blocks – trigger boxes associated with the target objects that react. These building blocks can be deployed to any virtual or augmented reality experience we are building.

The next generation will animate what cannot be simulated by default in a game development engine. These include: buoyancy and magnetism.

Currently all of these trigger and their target response actions are individual scripts in Unity applied to objects. Eventually they will not be different scripts that game designers, VR education designers, or AR experience designers have to code to author. They will be toggles, dials, and buttons that the author can visually set.

Quick Questions

1. How did you get into games?

Breaking all of the rules. Games are sticky because you can only win by breaking specific rules.

2.You’re part of the first manned mission to Mars! You’ll be gone for 5 years and can only bring 3 games to play alone or with your 3 fellow astronauts. What are they?

  1. Journey – because I’ll finally have time to play it. I hear from Alysha Naples and creators at Avalanche that it is an emotionally moving experience.
  2. A zombie game – because a mission to mars sounds like survival. Walking Dead Our World – an AR zombie game that also allow us to exercise.
  3. 3. A game we can mod – so we can stay busy and productive.

3. What would be your dream game to build?

A multi-player AR game. With remote users. Where we don’t hide things! Not everything has to be hidden to start!

4. What do you love best about the game community in NYC?

It’s one area where people openly share knowledge for the advancement of the field. It’s very collaborative in that manner – unlike much of of New York. We understand that this metagame is non-zero sum – the advancement of techniques, platforms, and community.

5. Choose 5 words to describe your experience making games so far.

Lifetime pursuit. Level one complete.