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.

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

15 hours of starvation

John Harvey, Week 11 Journal

Week 11, the final week to get everything together.

This week my team and I needed our game to be somewhat complete. Looking at the level we had and what was supposed to be expected, I realize very quickly it needed heavy reconstruction.

So, this week I became the majestic level designer I’ve always wanted to be. I sat down in my chair at noon on Friday and cranked out a completely overhauled level. I didn’t eat for 15 hours, because food is for chumps (I ate immediately right after). I contacted the art department earlier in the week, got the assets, started importing, and created prefabs. This alone took 5 hours (500+ additional assets). Once the assets were in, I began the level design. I set up to level to allow players to learn a new mechanic than move on, while trying to keep the up-down up-down climatic events my team requested. At 4:33am the level was finished and I gave my team the go ahead to start fixing/polishing anything that needed it.

I’m happy.

Positive: Level is done, it runs around 4 minutes. My team is back on track. We have a working level!!!!!!!!!!!

Negative: It took 15 hours of straight work to get to this point. Assets took way to long to get into the engine. Unity crashes/Pc failures.

Enemies and Secondary Assets, Week 5, Chris

Since the art assets for the brother and sister have been finalized and sent to the animation department, and the first three enemies also have finalized art, it’s time to be working on the art for the other assets in the game. Usually I do foundational sketches and formatting in Photoshop, which then gets sent to Syd to be vectorized. These last couple of weeks though, we’ve realized that the environment is way too short. She’s swamped altering that, and I do have Illustrator, so I’ve also been helping to vectorize now. Basic power-up sprites and projectiles for the enemies and heroes were made this week, and the Clam and Eel enemies were also finalized. Since in these final weeks we don’t need as much concept work as before, I’ve also begun helping in other areas, mainly finding royalty free fonts that match the mood of our game, and also royalty free sound effects.

Positive: We’re definitely moving away from getting concepts into the game and into polishing and perfecting what we have.

Negative: As we move forward, a lot of older things we did need to be updated, and it’s also surprisingly hard to find royalty free sound effects that don’t get irritating after hearing them a couple times.