Individual Reflection (Postmortem)

Throughout the 2016 fall semester at Champlain College, being a part of the Capstone class has revealed to me how far I have come since freshman year. As a video game producer, I thought the road would be easy going into it, but I was dead wrong. Freshman year, I quickly found out I knew absolutely nothing about game development, despite me feeling like I did prior to my arrival on campus. As each year has gone by I have learned more and more on how the development process works, and what the role of the producer actually is. Where I am at today is what I feel to be a good position, as I have had team members tell me I am one of the best producers they have had and that I’m actually pretty good at the job! This took me by surprise at first since I tend to think pessimistically, and so with that, I apparently don’t give myself enough credit. At this point in senior year, I am finally accepting that I am at least decent at what I do.

I feel I got where I am today, by taking things that I’ve learned in my classes and applying them to the Capstone class. This was actually really difficult for me, because, even though I haven’t seen a professional to confirm this, but I’m pretty sure I have some sort of learning disability, as I constantly forget most information that is being taught to me. What little I have remembered (such as how to use Pineapple or basic parts of a Target Market) has helped me tremendously, but I feel I could be one of the best at this job if I could just remember everything I’m learning, and sadly that isn’t happening.

What I did this semester in Capstone was what producers usually do, and that’s the business side of the game, as well as organizing, which is my specialty. I spent most of my time organizing meetings and the Wiki, making sure everything was up to date and that tasks were properly managed and logged. I never really was the ‘leader’ of the team per se, as I never felt I lead the team, but I’ve never been much of a leader anyway. Despite this, the team felt I was really important, stating that they would be mostly unorganized if it wasn’t for me. In addition to this, I was also a comic relief to the team members. Now, while that isn’t important in terms of getting work done for class, I feel the team enjoyed the laughs especially during the stressful moments of the semester. That’s the main reason I like to provide comic relief in general, as I feel the world can be too serious at times, so despite my pessimistic thinking professionally, I like to make people laugh and put smiles on faces while thinking optimistically personally. (At least, optimistically personally to the public, but that’s a whole different story).

So, what does all of this mean? Why did I do the things I did this semester? Technically, it was because I had to in order to pass the class, but in a professional environment, I did all of the things I did (the work and comic relief) because I wasn’t in this project for myself. I belonged to a team and each team member had to pull their weight or else our game wouldn’t have gotten to the point where it is today. In addition to that, I’ve grown to really enjoy working with my fellow team members and I was ecstatic to find out all of our hard work paid off upon finding out our game was going forward to next semester. Even though I may not be the best professionally, the future is my hands, and I feel I can be a great contribution to any team in the professional world, even if I was hired solely to provide comic relief or on a more important scale, to just organize anything and/or everything, and when it comes to any job, even the ones outside of the video game industry, there will always be something that needs organizing and that’s why I feel my role and the role of a producer/organizer in general is very important anywhere in the world. We all make our own little mark on the world, and I’m currently on the journey of making mine.

 

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Progress Report (Week 13 & 14 – Final Update)

Well, here I am, finally at the end of Capstone. Here is an update for the last two weeks…

  • We started the week with our final meeting before our presentation at the Winter Showcase. The meeting was on Sunday, November 20th, 2016. The meeting was started by looking at the QA feedback which are as follows…
    • When asked for thoughts on the art, we had unanimous positive feedback again. One tester suggested more details on the map.
    • We asked how well did the tutorial explain everything on a scale from 1 to 5 again. 46.4% voted 5, 35.7% voted 4, 17.9% voted 3, and 0 voted for 1 and 2.
    • When asked for any other thoughts on the tutorial, we had unanimous positive feedback saying it got the message across. Some raised a concern that the quest portion was still a little confusing.
    • When asked about the worm arc and whether they understood the connection between everything, it was still a little mixed, with some understanding pretty clearly, while others said it felt disconnected. A select few didn’t get far enough to make a comment.
    • When asked how they felt about the characters, most testers loved them and noticed differences in personalities. Some testers wanted to know more about the worm.
    • When asked for any other thoughts on the narrative, most testers didn’t have any because they liked it, but some said an ending cutscene should be added.
    • When asked how clear the UI and the font is, most testers loved the font and that it was easy to read, and that the UI was clear, but some thought the font was a little hard to read and thought some letters didn’t look capitalized even though they should be.
    • When asked for how long free-play should last before the next arc starts, it ranged from a couple of days to 8 weeks of in-game time.
    • When asked for any thoughts on the boss gameplay, some testers never made it to the boss, while others liked it. A suggestion was to lower the difficulty or the number of shards the worm shoots out.
    • When asked for any thoughts on the map, mostly everyone loved it. Some pointed out that one of the quests appeared behind part of the UI thus making it hard to click on.
    • When asked for any thoughts on the merchant gameplay, most testers liked it. Some suggestions included removing the price slider and instead being able to increase the price in certain increments, as well as having the customers do counteroffers.
    • When asked for thoughts on the audio, most testers couldn’t hear it due to the QA room being really loud, but the ones that did hear it loved it.
    • Finally, when asked if any bugs were found, someone found that the credits overlay if you didn’t close them before starting the game, and that another text box was overlaying after doing a quest.
  • Following this, the rest of the time was spent fixing bugs, making sure the build was as perfect as we could get it. Then, we spent a lot of time on the presentation, editing slides and doing several timed dry-runs to make sure we met the 10 minute time-limit. The first run went over 10 minutes, but after some editing and more attempts, we shortened it down to around 9 and a half minutes.
  • The following day in class, we did a dry-run of this presentation, and got some feedback. The majority of it was deemed to be good, except for one slide that needed changing, in which we removed it completely and replaced it with a different topic that was determined to be more important.
  • That night, we presented at the Winter Showcase and everything went really well!!
  • The following day was the demos for the faculty, which made me nervous on whether our game was going to move forward since it didn’t go as well as I had hoped…BUT later that night, after the decisions were made…our game was one of the ten picked to move forward! WE DID IT!!
  • The rest of the week was Thanksgiving break, in which we all took a well-deserved break. Upon returning, we spent trying to figure out who we specifically needed as the Free Agent Draft was coming up on Thursday, December 1st. We needed to know who we were drafting, and who other teams were drafting.
  • After some uncertainty with teams, members from each team met to have a pre-draft in which every pick was decided and compromised on. All we had to do was show up to the draft and stick with who we decided on.
  • Aside from the 4 free agents that wasn’t picked by anyone, the draft went extremely smooth as every team already had their picks laid out as I mentioned. We ended up getting most of the people we wanted. Our new additions are two artists, three designers, and two programmers. I contacted them following this welcoming them to the team and now as of this writing, a full group introductory meeting is planned where we’ll get to know each other and just hangout. There will be a postmortem post after this one, but other than that, this is the final update. What a crazy semester this has been!