PPJ #8 – Cole Mueller

Personal Postmortem

3 things right:

-I explored a lot more of the options Unity has with integrating visuals and animations. I adapted quickly to changes in the animation pipeline between Unity versions, and I’m super happy with the effects that I explored and edited. Even though I started with Unitys built in effects, I learned a whole lot about particle systems and shaders that I am very excited to apply to senior project.

-The entire team successfully (more or less) got through a long-term project. Workshop I was a great opportunity for experience in a team development cycle on a long-term project and I imagine everyone will walk away from this having learned a boat-load about project and time management as well as some new technical skills.

-We got a lot built. Similar to last term, we produced a lot of content, and almost all of the content we produced made it into the build. We developed 5 new levels, and while design and instruction could’ve been better for the game all around, it really shows how much we can get done as a team.

3 things wrong:

-Time management. This was by far the biggest problem with the project this term. Everybody had a whole lot going on with other classes and coop and, as the term progressed, all work began to get pushed off till Sunday. This made pushing content into each build EXTREMELY difficult because any problems that popped up that week were discovered on Sunday. This left very little time for issues to be addressed and content to be accurately added.

-Communication. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. The increased team size was a new challenge for us all, but I think we handled it pretty well for the most part. Our Slack was very active and Trello helped immensely. That said, we began stagnating with our communication: people communicating late or running into issues, or misunderstanding what they had to do for each week. This will definitely always be an area that can use improvement for all of us, and I really hope that I can learn from this well and apply it to my coop and senior project.

-Integration. We ran into a similar problem as last term where people were having issues with integrating things into the build. It was heaps-and-bounds better than last term and many people did work very hard to learn more about Unity to integrate their own stuff, but often times there was technical or organizational errors as a result of low Unity experience. I think this is probably our most natural and understandable mistake, however, as errors will naturally be made with any technical skills we are learning. I don’t see this any differently than when we would make mistakes in Photoshop or Maya.

2 Lessons learned:

-Design. Not really a bad point per say, but a big area where we all learned. Design is hard. Teaching the player is hard. And I don’t think we ever really got it down before the end of the project. I know that this will be a big learning point for all of us though. For a first go-around on a large scale 3D puzzle-ish game, we didn’t do awful! So again, not really a bad point, but probably the biggest thing we’ll all take away from this project.

-The core mechanic/gameplay of the game will forever be the foremost priority for me when concepting/designing a new game. Designing a game based off of a narrative/visual look is fine, if done correctly, but if we start developing the story/art of the game before even knowing what the game is first, the game won’t be very fun or enjoyable. Our playtesters often viewed playing our game as a chore, and so for the future it will definitely be most important to me that the gameplay is solid and fun before dressed up with art and story.

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