Joust! Post-Mortem

“Joust!” has now been  released on itch.io so go check it out! In this post I’ll be giving an overall rundown on the project, notable milestones, things learned and what I can do to make development easier on myself and my teammates in future projects.

The Development

The start had to be the toughest part of the project, having documentation done at the start honestly helps more than most might think. This leads your collaborators in the right direction from the get-go. I wrote a 17 page Game Design Document and I still had collaborators asking me things they needed to know about what to make, though, it was a lot less than what it could have been. So for any major projects, I’d seriously recommend spending the time to make good documentation, it WILL save you time in the long run organising meetings with collaborators you didn’t have to just to explain your game in more detail.

On the topic of collaborators (especially with students) one thing, if anything, that I am going to take away from this situation is the fact that you seriously cannot trust they will have the work done that you assign them. Prepare to be disappointed and have backup plans for assets that were assigned to others. At the beginning of this project I had 11 animation students wanting to work on the project and with assets assigned to them that they themselves chose to do. By the end of the project, 5 of the 11 actually submitted anything on the google drive folder I set up for them. I was missing a LOT of assets. Turning to the asset store as replacements until assets were done was the only thing I was able to do to counter this problem. I mean, it sucks I had to do it, but I had to do it and 6 animators had to unfortunately be cut from the credits list.

I had a similar issue with my audio collaborators. I had 2 Audio students from my CIU class (Creative Industries class)  of which, by the time their deadline came up they said they didn’t have the time to do it due to their own commitments. Earlier warnings would have been appreciated but again, you cant rely on these things. In order to get audio into my game I set aside a day to source royalty-free sounds online and also did a bunch of audio editing in Adobe Audition in order to create the right sounds for the game (mostly on the sound of the lance breaking). From there, spent that night implementing the audio as 3D sound.

Exhibition Day

This was a stressful day… and boy did I nearly not have an updated build ready for to exhibit. Exhibition was due to start at 5:30pm and we had to be there to set it up at 4:30pm, due to this being so late in the day we decided it would be a good idea to fix up some game logic, bugs, and visual elements. I got to uni that day at 11am that day thinking I had enough time to do these things with time to spare but then there was problem after problem after problem. From the laptop not working to the repository not downloading and many more issues, we had wasted 3 hours before we even got the unity project open. This left us with a very tight schedule to get our fixes done. Never again will I leave such tasks to the last day. You think these things wont happen to you, but after telling others about this, a lot of them stated they were in similar situations. So to anyone planning on doing future exhibits, don’t cut it so close, it leaves you stressed out for when you are actually exhibiting your project.

Seeing the game set up and running, waiting for people to come play it was an extremely satisfying moment for me. It was the best feeling knowing that finally it’s done. I got a lot of helpful feedback during the exhibition most notably from a man called Chris from Half-brick and the founder of Humble Sage Games. They gave us a lot of insight as to where to go from here and how we could improve the game in future revisions. This was a great way to meet industry people and to introduce myself to them. Having business cards ready helped immensely too. I haven’t gotten any contact yet from these people but knowing they have my name and number is enough to know my name will start to be getting out there and I can continue to build it from there.

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Conculusion

I have come to learn many things about VR, project development, project management and more from this project. In the case of collaborators I think it’s more practical to pick and chose your animators (where you have the option to do so) with those that have a record of a good work ethic rather than try to take on everyone that is available. This would have saved me a lot of time and can apply to anyone for any project.

I’m happy with what came out of this at the end though, what we achieved in the few weeks was better than expected and has provided us with the motivation to continue working on this project even after university.

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