Friday, 14 October 2011

Namaskar from Pune

Hello and welcome to my Final Major Project blog!

I’m still a third year Game Art student at De Montfort University, but I’m working an internship for Ubisoft at a studio in Pune, India for the next six months. I thought I’d make a blog about daily life. I'd love to talk about the game we are working on but of course it’s all top secret and I'd rather not get fired! I’ll be uploading any personal work I get time for either here, or at but I’m working 8 – 5 Monday to Friday so please don't expect much!

Phoenix Wright on the DS kept me pacified during the nine and a half hour flight, I had a momentary panic when I arrived in the chaos of Immigration control but the Ubisoft taxi driver was waiting for me as planned.

The taxi drive was madness. They paint lines on the road but they have absolutely no meaning… people fly out of junctions, go through red lights, and stop at green (sometimes). It was pretty funny, I had a smile on my face for most of it! There were oxen, dogs, cows and people wandering through the death-trap, and most of the Lorries on the motorway didn’t even have lights on the back - I understand now why that stretch of road has the highest death rate in the world. There were some really beautiful vehicles which kept my eyes focussed elsewhere, and kept my mind away from the realistic fear of a crash.

However, the composure was short-lived. Halfway along the motorway, there was a random dishwasher in the outside lane – the driver didn’t see it so just smashed straight into it! The taxi was wrecked, the front passenger tyre went flat and it was generally all bashed up. He pulled over to check it and it was state, but he just carried on driving! I turned on my company mobile phone just in case I needed it, but the battery died instantly... great start!

Eventually got to the flat. I didn’t know which room was mine so I roughed it out on the couch until I got bitten by a mosquito and thought I’d rather risk waking someone up…

My room is great! Nice sized bed, good view, TV and plenty of storage space. However, check out the 'free towel' I was graciously provided with… I wouldn’t even dry off a dog with it! Haha:

This is my room :)

I’m living with 3 French people, two boys and one girl, and they’re really lovely. They speak English very well and have looked after me. When we went for breakfast on Saturday morning, I tried masala chai, (spiced tea) for the first time, and then went into the residential area to meet one of their friends; he’s a local who makes wooden flutes. The way they live is so incredible, I’m taking my camera next time - even one of those houses would make a fantastic Final Major Project.

Back at the flat we set up a system link network with our laptops and played Left 4 Dead 2. It's good to know my housemates are into the same games as me, and it’s great to have a few home comforts. Here’s a quick sketch of the view from my apartment. All the environments here are awesome:

Today I’m going to the market to buy a Kurta (Indian long dress), my own towel (I’ve been using Laurens’) and some plates. We haven’t got any plates, bowls spoons or anything. This morning I ate cereal out of a plastic cup. Can’t complain though, I’m still having a great time!

The local bat is a fruit bat with a wing span of up to a meter and a half, I’m going to stay outside through dusk tonight with everyone and try to see one. The bird species are also very interesting; here are a couple of photos and a painting (when I can upload it):

My camera works really well sometimes

The heat is not as unbearable as I had feared, it even rained yesterday and the lightning was amazing, it looks like someone is taking photographs – the entire sky lights up. The sound of the rain against the window is beautiful. I was lucky to be in the monsoon after the rainy season, and it was a great experience. I've never got soaked so quickly - it was like someone tipped a bucket over my head. During the rain we went out for dinner at a traditional open air restaurant where we sat on the floor and had apple Shisha. The food is spot on too, bring on the Delhi belly!

I’m feeling a little sick already but that’s common, I always get ill when I go abroad, even just to France. Hopefully in a few weeks I’ll be settled in completely. So far the hardest thing to get used to is the language barrier – I’m having to ask people several times what they are saying, and it’s strange that nobody speaks English as a first. My housemate Florian asked me, ‘What do you call the string to hang the clothes?’ It took me a while to remember the words ‘washing line’. I think I’m forgetting English...

The studio is open plan and encourages interactivity between the different working pipelines. They’re testing the new game ‘Rayman Origins’ which I played at Eurogamer, it’s fantastic! Good to mess about on in lunch break. Working in a studio is not how I had imagined it, there are a lot of people asking me for help and tutorials, whereas I always imagined it the other way around. I think this studio in Pune is mainly occupied with brilliant 2D artists, and they’re just beginning to move into 3D game production. This studio is great for people like me, I can really develop as an artist and help people learn 3D at the same time.

First time I've voluntarily worn corporate wear

I love working with creative people! Working is so much different to university, the main difference is that I know that there is so much more expectation and reliance on the standard of what I produce. In university I was only letting myself down when I made something half-arsed. The game I’m working on is much more advanced than I was preparing for and is testing my limits, but I’m working to the best of my ability and hope to make a good impression.

I really am missing home, saying goodbye was very difficult, but I think I will be okay here. I know when we get the internet set up in the flat I can always go on Skype. I can’t find any English tea, which was one of my worst nightmares… How can I function for 10 hours?! Tea is like my life blood. I gave it up for a week in England and got the shakes. Must… find… caffeine…

3DS Maxwell makes his debut in Phoenix Wright XD

Overall my first few days have been quite the culture shock, but I don’t think it’s anything can’t get used to!

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