Dev Diary #4 – Project 1 Post Mortem

Project 1 Post-Mortem (Wherefore art though?)

Wherefore art though in summary was a project spanning over the course of the first 2 weeks of the trimester. The second week being all the time we had to actually make the game. The game being a re-imagining of an old arcade game titled Berzerk in the style or mind of a famous artist assigned to us by our lecturers, mine being Sara Hughes.

What Went Well?

The project initially seemed like a fun game to make, in the first day of receiving the brief, my mind was rattling with ideas and had many different design avenues I could have followed. Getting together a concept and pitch video I actually found quite easy, if given enough space to work with in the brief, my mind can rattle off numerous ideas very easily and in my head. 
Making some basic art assets with animations also went better than expected, it was the first time I’d actually made an animation from a spritesheet so using this method seemed very simple as doing it first go without a problem really helped my situation. 

What Could Have Gone Better

SCOPING – I may have had bright ideas, but my best idea needed much research on how to do before actually trying to make it. I’m mainly referring to my 3D level transitioning on a 2D game. I had it theoretically planned out but I needed at least a few days to fully research the best method of developing the feature. This was time I simply didn’t have for a 1 week project.

Solutions: 
  • Downscoping features
  • Rapid prototyping
  • Create proper tech spec documentation
  • Collaborate (not available for this brief)
SCRIPTING – When coding things like level generation and player exits I ran into a lot of snags due to not having very good coding experience. I spent a long time trying to band-aid a lot of code until it got to a semi-workable state. I know a more experienced coder would have probably been able to achieve the same thing with probably a quater the amount of lines of code that I had. Doing this project solo meant I couldnt rely on anyone to do the harder coding for me, this ties into scoping problems but here I wish to focus more on my scripting proficiency.
Solutions:
  • Have myself or someone else in the future allocate myself some more scripting tasks to get more comfortable with scipting.
  • Start harder tasks earlier to give myself more time to ask for help from peers or lecturers.
  • Set time aside to work on personal projects that can improve my scripting abilities

Conclusion

The project was a bit of a disaster come the due date, but believe the main cause for this was due to the over-scoping. For future projects, I’ll be sure to consider research time for project elements that I don’t fully understand and if the estimated research time takes too long, make sure I downscope my features to a point of understanding and a manageable time schedule for the project.

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