I’m Back!! (Progress Report – Week 1)

Just when you think this blog was over…BAM! I’m back for the next semester! A lot has happened since the last progress report so here’s an update!

  • As mentioned in the last progress report, we added 2 new Artists, 3 new Designers, and 2 new Programmers to our team. The original team and I have welcomed them in with open arms and we are all excited to continue production of The Grand Master into a full-fledged game (or as full as we can make it within the span of a semester).
  • Following everyone coming back to school after a long, well-deserved break, we decided that since we have a huge team (the biggest team in fact), there will be two full group meetings (which was surprisingly possible since everyone has different schedules), as well as discipline-exclusive meetings (one for each) weekly. One challenge I already found was that, seeing as I am the only producer, I will not have Producer-exclusive meetings, but I knew it would be impossible to attend all these other meetings. So, I had to come up with an idea to manage this, in which I decided I would go to the discipline meetings in a rotation (i.e. one week go to the artist meeting, then the designer meeting the next week, etc.)
  • The very first meeting took place on Thursday, January 19th, 2017, before we even had our first production class for the semester, and it was a Programmer-exclusive meeting (of which I did not attend).
    • During the meeting, the programmers talked about the wants of the new members of the programming team. Basically coming down to what they wanted to work on, and from there branched out to figure out the tasks that they would need to complete this semester if they want this game done in a working order.
    • The feature list created involved aspects such as the game’s core systems which consisted of buying and selling/the merchant screen/suppliers, adventurer management/quests, monster fights/boss battles, and camera logic.
    • Each of these were broken down into more detail. The merchant screen features included item creation, time system, and logic for various things like the main menu and UI. Changes to each character’s “true item” are also planned.
    • Features for the adventurer management included the addition of stats and equipable items, quest creation, and implementing a system that adds a sense of progression.
    • Features for the boss battles/monster fights included boss AI, arena creation, player controls/attacks/movements/etc, and the possibility of mini-bosses.
    • From there they set aside the hour counts needed to complete the current tasks on the list, and saw if these estimates were within the amount of hours that they have to work on this project. (8 hours a week, for 12 weeks, with 3 people). Then they assumed the worst (3 times the estimated amount) and saw that it was still within the realms of do-ability. It was determined that it would take between 288-432 hours to finish the features.
    • Other things they talked about where smaller things such as time dictated to learning the engine and project, as well as talking about setting up a meeting time.
  • The next day (Friday) we had our first production class, in which we learned what the requirements are. It (thankfully) doesn’t sound as stressful as Capstone from last semester. There are no stages we have to constantly challenge into (with the exception of a Greenlight stage), and the required amount of hours of work for each week has been lowered from last semester as well.
  • We then had our first Full Group Meeting the following day on Saturday, January 21st, 2017.
    • Ben brought in a guy named Sid Corren, who specializes in audio, to help us with our audio direction. John showed him our game and what the audio currently was.
    • Dennis showed me a template for a scoping doc that his previous team used. It involved available hours and how many hours were actually spent to show if we’re overscoping or underscoping.
    • We then all came together to discuss bosses. The designers started a list of boss archetypes which included canines, humanoids, trolls, etc.
    • Aaron suggested an elf for a boss, but not like a normal elf. By this, it is implied that we would make it in our own design, as if we’re making our own lore. It would be a quadruped.
    • John suggested that he wanted Giants in the game. We discussed what its attacks would be like rocks shooting out when he swings his club down into the ground.
    • The bosses within each archetype that the team came up with are a Skoffin and an Obvious Dragon for the canine archetype, the Tundra Worm from last semester and an Obvious Wyrm for the worm archetype, an Ice Giant and Mountain Troll for the troll archetype, a Robber, Deity/Demi-God, a Drunkard, and a Necromancer/Oreks for the humanoid archetype, and Svartalfar (the elf mentioned previously) and a Basty for the quadruped archetype.
    • The team came up with one unique trait for each boss so they are all different:
      • The Skoffin has a petrify attack
      • The Obvious Dragon’s trait hasn’t been decided yet
      • The Tundra Worm has an ice spike attack
      • The Ice Giant’s trait hasn’t been decided yet
      • The Robber has a steal ability
      • The Diety/Demi-God can teleport/make clones
      • Svartalfar’s trait hasn’t been decided yet
      • The Mountain Troll’s trait hasn’t been decided yet
      • The Drunkard can throw bottles
      • The Obvious Wyrm’s trait hasn’t been decided yet
      • The Basty can create fake Bastys
      • The Necromancer/Oreks trait is that the Necromancer is agile and the Oreks are a horde
    • We then prioritized each boss by “Reach Level.” The levels were Attainable, Maybe, and Stretch. As well as sorting them into 2 categories, “Main Bosses” and “Mini-Bosses” Some still weren’t prioritized by the conclusion of the meeting, but the ones that were are as follows:
      • Attainable Main Bosses so far are the Tundra Worm, Ice Giant, Svartalfar, and the Mountain Troll.
      • Main Bosses in the ‘Maybe’ level is just the Obvious Dragon.
      • There were no Main Bosses in the Stretch stage yet, but the Canine boss archetype has been deemed a Stretch goal.
      • Two Mini-Bosses are in the ‘Maybe’ stage, which are the Drunkard and the Robber.
    • Jed shared a list of Turkic mythological figures to give us more ideas.
    • Most of the remainder of the meeting was spent working…
      • I updated the Wiki, making certain tasks, and writing the Meeting Log, and I also experimented with Dennis’s scoping doc (i.e. trying to figure it all out)
      • The Art Department worked on modeling The Grand Master himself, as well as his weapons, in addition to sketching designs for the Tundra Worm.
      • The Design Department worked on various things, such as a personality and dialogue doc, and sorting out every character in the game (i.e. Adventurers, Customers, Vendors, etc.). John specifically worked on trying to re-vamp the UI.
      • The Programming Department worked on UI and making it easier for the designers to go in and change boss behaviors if necessary.
  • Overall, I’m feeling really good about this. Every member of the team seems passionate about our game, which is one of the main things we were looking for. Hopefully the feeling will stay that way and we run into as few obstacles as possible! I look forward to seeing how the game and us both as a team and individually progress as the semester goes on. Stay tuned for more updates!
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