Blog 6: Postmortem
29 April 2021
1. Assume the role of Edward O’Hare, reliving his younger years with his son Alex and his grandson Colin as his small, mundane tales become larger than life epics before their very eyes. Small rats become vicious beasts, creeks become roaring rivers, and school buses become terrifying metal monstrosities. Edward will be jumping, fighting, and puzzling his way through a variety of environments, all made from the toys of his grandson listening along to the story.
We want the players to feel like they are connected to the story as they play levels made of toys, meant to represent the real world as it is being described.
Right now it is only for windows, but we are testing mac builds and will have a demo webGL build uploaded to itch.io
Our target market is focused on people who enjoy a story, and some action to hold interest throughout the levels.
We have 20 team members, covering pretty much every sub-role that we need. Although with only 2 artists, we had to be a bit flexible.
From the mid-mortem, a whoooole lot has changed. We had a total script rewrite, we expanded on levels, added collectibles, improved the AI, and really looked into ways to make the boss feel fun to fight.
2. We have the game officially up on steam! There are no plans to really go any further with the game, and personally, I am extremely happy with where the game ended up, even with its many flaws.
3. I think the biggest thing that went right was taking on an incredible environment artist. Last semester, we had a pretty small level and very few environment assets. Sam has gone above and beyond with the amount of assets they made for our 7 levels. I am very proud of myself for making a comprehensive art document that both myself and Sam were able to reference to make sure that there were minimal issues as we both add assets to the build. It had everything from color schemes, style guides, import pipelines, and naming conventions.
The split of the 20 people into 3 sub-teams also helped keep everything organized and improve collaboration. I worked directly with other team members to ensure that everything was implemented correctly.
I also improved more this semester than any other over my 4 years here due to our low artist situation. I had to cover technical programming, animations, VFX, and pretty much all art outside of environment and UI. So I was busy learning efficient workflows so that I could manage to do all that I needed to do.
4. Well, a lot went wrong.
We had planned on having another artist that was not able to join us this semester, we had to kick off a programmer, resulting in their tasks being reassigned, and many team members got work to us slower than we had anticipated.
Losing that artist shifted out plan for an absolutely insane idea that was in our heads involving motion capture, facial motion capture, hyper realistic character models, and a more realistic distribution of work to 3 artists.
Every week we had a lot of rejected tasks needing to be moved onto the next sprint, which slowed down our timing getting through our priority list.
Psersonally, there were not many issues between myself and other team members other than one. It seemed like Rose and I just disagreed on what felt like every decision. Any time I brought an idea to the team, they would have some issue with it where neither one of us could see eye to eye. We did resolve this with compromises and reforming ideas, so it was never such a big impediment that it slowed production.
5. I learned that even with the best planning, communication, and distribution of tasks, everything will not get done. Someone will have an off week, and the only thing you can do, is help motivate them to make the next week better. It is something that needs to be addressed early on and acted on as early as possible. I mentioned last week that we tested a new sprint plan and it seemed to work mostly, but not 100%. It may have been unrealistic to hope for 100% but I was very confident. I think a lot of good came out of the test sprint and I am glad most of the team did everything they could to make sure it worked.
Last thoughts. I am extremely proud of every single one of my 19 team mates. I feel like I bonded with everyone and being a lead for the first time taught me a lot about how to treat an artist who by role, is under me, but as a team mate, is my equal. There was a trust between Sam and I where I did not need to constantly check up on their work, and they would update me with how they were doing, what work got done and why some work didnt get done. Overall, I would'nt have chose any other way for this team to have gone. If we got that 3rd artist, who knows what could have happened. If we finished work earlier, we could have ran out of steam faster not been able to get to a completed state. Sometimes, even the wrong is a blessing in disguise.