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.