Final Week & Postmortem – Noah

The project’s done. This week was spent putting everything together. Fixing bugs and making sure everything works to the best of our ability.

For the final sprint, I worked on implementing player health, the respawn mechanic, and several bugfixes.

Player health was in the build for a while, but issues with colliders kept keeping health from properly updating. Tom and I fixed the problems, and the player health UI now updates to reflect the player health variable. I also worked on implementing the respawn mechanic. After one player dies, the camera will adjust its player following code to only follow the remaining player. When the second player dies, the game will fade to black with a game over message before reloading the level.

I also worked on bugfixes. Most of my involvement with bugfixes was helping the other programmers when issues arose. We worked hard through the week to look over our code.

The bugs I personally fixed were related to the sister’s animation, her shield, and the brother’s slingshot. All of the sister’s animations looped, so when she aimed upwards, she continued to look up over and over. She now only looks up once. I also repositioned her shield to be drawn closer to her body, and to be taller. Now, enemy bullets won’t sneak past her shield before she can pull it up. The brother’s sling shot fired in odd positions depending on the direction you were aiming at. I cleaned up the code so that the slingshot firepoint would stay consistent.

The good of this week was that we were able to push hard into building a vertical slice of the game.

The bad is that we didn’t have the time to polish and bug test as much as we’d like to.

Post Mortem

This was a interesting project to work on. I enjoyed working with this team: everyone had a strong work ethic and our project management kept us on task.

The programming team was able to learn source control quickly, which greatly helped our ability to save and share code.

Unfortunately, we didn’t much time to work on this project. We worked on this game as part of an introductory course, so many of us were learning our development programs and tools as we were going through the weeks. If we had a few more weeks of development, we would have more work time in which we all understood how to solve our tasks.

We also overscoped. Even for a simple sidescroller, we had too many features, which cut into polishing the core mechanics. In the future, we should focus on the minimum viable product before exploring other ideas.

Last Week and Post Mortem – Chris

This week was most definitely crunch time – the last push before our “finalized” game. As far as art is concerned, the environment was still too short, and so Syd and I worked together to make tons of extending, seamless assets. After all, we didn’t want the environment to be repetitive. Syd made a ton of environment tiles, and while I also made a couple seamless sand tiles, most of what I did was sprite sheets full of environment decorations and place-able assets, such as anchors, rocks, seaweed, etc. Shout out to John also for becoming a level designer and arranging it all.

Positive: I learned a lot about seamless assets, sprite sheets, and new ways of importing into unity.

Negative: I have never tried to make art at such high speeds, and it was incredibly stressful. Crunch time is not fun.

___________________

Post Mortem:

I think that so far at Drexel, this is the most “industry” experience I’ve had so far. Never before have I worked on a project like this with such a large group, and that alone was new. Usually when working on games, I’m doing a bit of everything rather than having a specific role in a department, so that was interesting. Communication definitely was important. I was also really surprised by the scope of our game, and how large it ended up being. I remember thinking that the other group in our class, Orcs in Love, had a dangerous scope. Ours ended up being huge, but also manageable, and only manageable through extreme task management and staying up at inordinate hours of the night.

I suppose in terms of skill, I learned a lot about specifically making assets for games. Sprite sheets, importing, making vector art for rigging, simplifying character designs, color theory to direct the players eye – making something at this scale in such a short amount of time forced me to learn a lot on the fly, and even though it was stressful, it was fun. The positive to this was really just going through the whole process, the ups and the downs. It was cool to see and help a concept we were all excited about become a playable product. The negative though, was the stress, especially around crunch time,  but now at least I know to avoid it.

Postmortem — Erin

What a term it has been.

 

From project pitches to idea selection to the chaos of executing a project of this scope in six weeks to trying to get eight Drexel students in the same room at the same time, I’ve certainly learned plenty. This project has been, I think, a combination of two cliches: drinking from a firehose and trial by fire.

 

Positives: Well, I learned a lot. One of the best aspects of this project was being able to give my programming muscles a workout since they haven’t had all that much attention since I left my train job. Plus, trying to keep just myself organized was a wild ride from start to finish — project management did what they could but making sure subteams were coordinated and even minor things like getting everyone on source control or getting people in the same room proved to be huge challenges. It was a rough go for the first couple weeks and still wasn’t totally smoothed out by the end, but this was one of those experiences where one comes out the other end with a ton of experience under one’s belt.

This whole project was an exercise in Murphy’s Law. I learned that I can survive on three hours of sleep and that Monster is only semi-effective for keeping me up after a certain number of hours. I drank a lot of coffee. So I suppose the best thing was learning how to prioritize. When everything breaks, one has to learn what to work on and what to let go. Rinse and repeat.

 

Negatives: EVERYTHING IS ON FIRE. Seriously, though, with everyone having to wear multiple hats and many people learning new software and skills for the first time, this project was far too much to take on in the time frame we had. Many things broke and we only had time to fix so many; we were forced to start a hierarchy of importance for features. Some things we wanted got left out, and we were forced to skip over some pieces in favor of others, and there are definitely some broken things in our build.

Also, the times we had with what were seemingly huge problems that turned out to be tiny, and vice versa, were extremely frustrating.

But mostly, our struggles involved getting everyone’s work to fit together as it should (Noah spent many sleepless nights fixing code issues that could have been avoided if we got everyone on source control earlier). We faced challenges in just the sheer volume of work that needed to be done: 5 enemies, one boss, two characters, powerups, player health, and a level that would last as long as we wanted our slice to just proved to be a massive amount of work. We all put in late nights and/or long days to get the game to its current state.

And so I reiterate: what is sleep.

 

Final Thoughts: I’m writing this postmortem at 2:30 in the morning because I’m still up making fixes and additions to the final build which we’ll be presenting this afternoon. Even if the final product isn’t ideal, I’m darned proud of our progress and everything we learned as a team. These people were good to work with and I am happy to say I’m going into the rest of my education and my career with this experience in my pockets.

The End

There Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked.

So this week has been a trip. Admittedly I didn’t devote nearly as much time as the rest of the gang (shout out to John and Noah especially for killing both it and themselves) because of bunch of other projects that were due, but progress was still made. Collision issues from Monday’s class were resolved and health + death were set up to, you know, actually happen. Of course, as is tradition, new issues have cropped up. As I type this I’m working on getting those collisions to work consistently across all the enemies and health to work for both characters. I may need to enlist some help with this because I’m truly baffled as to why some of this is happening. I also see more some covfefe in my future. So I guess a positive is that now a bunch of key features work! The negative flip side is that they don’t work consistently across the board.

Anyway, let’s get to the meaty part of this thing:

APOCALYPSE WOW!

A Post Mortem

This project has been an experience, to say the least, most generic thing possible. Heck, this term has been an experience. A bunch of ups. A pile of downs. A mountain of lessons. Let’s start it off with the good.

The Good

First off, shout out to the entire team for making me like group projects for the first time in the history of ever. Seriously, hats off to them. Y’all worked your bums off.

Second, we got off to a great start because of the awesome organization we had going. By the end of the first week we had roles, departments, our drive set up, a clear vision, and our tasks dolled out. And even when the road got bumpy (understatement of the century), we maintained this organization and structure – it may not have solved all our problems, but it definitely helped us stay focused on the tasks at hand.

The Bad

So remember how I just said our organization was the bees knees? Well, one slip up on that front that stands out was a lack of consistency, particularly one the code front. Each of us has a slightly different way of implementing things. Where programmer A might create a function in the player object, programmer B might handle the same thing in the enemy object. Later on, this lead to a few instances of total rewrites as different programmers took on different features, some of which they didn’t originally create.

Another negative was the oft mentioned time. Six weeks was definitely a tough time frame to manage. Throw in other classes and oh boy we’ve got a lot of not sleeping and still not meeting deadlines. No one is really to blame for this – it’s kinda just a fact of life when you’re in classes – but it definitely took its toll.

Finally, I want to take a minute to acknowledge this crazy little thing called life. Life does this thing where it throws stuff at you even though you aren’t ready to catch it. Or if you’re just not able to catch it. Or sometimes you can totally catch it but it hits you in the face. Life decided to throw a lot my way and I was admittedly kinda out of it mentally for a chunk of the term, which is not the best when you’re working with a group. It took some time to get back in the swing of things, and learning to balance the work with the rest of things was a whole project in and of itself. I don’t mean for that to come off as a deflection of responsibility, though. I fully own the fact that I may have been a literal corpse at times.  For a minute there, I lost myself.

Oh, and not knowing Unity was like, kinda a problem.

The Ug- I mean Lessons

  • Be super realistic when planning. The best laid plans oft go awry.
  • Life, like, finds a way, dude. Expect curve-balls from anything and everything, even things unrelated to the project.
  • Know your gosh dang engine.
  • And for the love of god go to sleep once in a while.

It’s been real, guys. Y’all were the bomb diggity to work with, and despite how dumb that sounds, I mean it. 🙂

-Tom

Final Journal and Post Mortem

Well…that was a whirlwind of weeks. I can’t believe we got as much done as we did and (for the most part) enjoyed it. I haven’t created so much art in one day as I did the day we decided to knock out all the environment assets at once. Developing this game with this group has been quite the experience and it was great to work with people this passionate about games with the same morbid sense of humor.

We cranked out a ton of final art, finished off some additional assets, placed in the music, finished the trailer, and polished the GDD. A lot went well, including the workflow Chris and I developed for making all the art assets the same style and colors. I think we got most of the assets out in time but I personally struggled with delivering things in a timely manner. One of my greatest downfalls on this project was procrastination. I wish I could have lent a hand to the programmers more, but between my unfamiliarity with Unity and my very, very poor coding skills, I probably would have done more harm than help.

For future projects this game has taught me plenty about management and weekly updates. Meeting with people face to face is extremely helpful in keeping up to date with the workings of other departments and makes the overall workflow much smoother. I’ve also learned that things can very quickly spiral out of control. I don’t think I was well prepared for this class with only a small exposure to Unity and jython and relied heavily on my already familiar skills. I’m proud of what we accomplished, but wish we could have done more.

  • Production, Art Assets, Week 11, Sydney Oswald

Post Mortem

Post Mortem  Mike Moore, 13Jun17

I want to start off by saying that through struggle is how great things are accomplished. People learn more lessons from bad experiences than good ones.

Good Experiences: This portion of the course needs to have left and right lateral movement limits. As a group we decided to undertake a large project in terms of Art, animation, and especially code. We were not able to create the game we set out to create, however, i did learn a great deal. As a project manager i learned all of the different internet based organizational support programs and websites. I also learned the process of developing a game from start to finish. I also learned that there is a big difference coming from the military, my outlook and leadership skills needed to adapt and change to push this project forward. A huge positive is that this team was extremely motivated and talented. They poured hours upon hours into this game. Everyone carried a immense amount of weight, especially the coding department. I gained a newfound respect for how diverse the game design pipeline and industry is.

Bad Experiences: I was not prepared for this class, i have not had any previous class that taught animation, Unity, basically anything besides modeling. There were multiple people in class that did not have enough training (college classes) to develop a game. I ended up using YouTube to teach myself how to use Unity and animate/rig in maya. Another series of issues that i had is working with peers. Even when leaders are chosen by the team or the leaders naturally step up when needed, there is a lot of pushback from individuals. In the workforce there are bosses who have authority and people know when and when not to speak up. Having a fully democratic team is great for idea flow but bad in terms of focus and execution. Since the team was made up of peers (college students) who have a plethora of workloads and other priorities and struggles its hard to set realistic timelines to complete certain assets. It was difficult to manage all the different departments/department leaders because i lacked the knowledge of those certain departments (coding).

Overall Experience: Even though this was a huge learning curve and this course should be placed later in the GDAP catalog, it was a great learning experience. With all of these struggles, with every single roadblock or speed bump, i learned how to manage, relate, and work with a team of highly motivated and talented people.

 

Production, Animation, Week 11, Mike Moore

The End!

The End   Mike Moore, Week 11 Journal 12Jun17

Project managers: Finalized the GDD, and created the Teaser Trailer. We Task Organized issues and had to make hard decisions of what is not going to get into the final game.

Pres team: Updated the Sell Pres and prepared ourselves for the presentations itself.

Animation Dept:  All Animations are done, redone, re-rendered and ready.

EelAgro.gif

Positive: Game is really coming together for the short amount of time we had to develop.

Negative: We had to cut crucial game mech, aesthetics, and other things out of the game because of time issues.

Production, Animation, Week 11, Mike Moore