Self-Assessment: Imagined World Project

Tony made some really valid points in class today about how we need to make sure we’re self-assessing the work we’ve been doing in our Imagines World project. I’ve not really done any in-depth assessment on how the team is doing, more just relying on the notes people have written in Trello, but this seems like a good time to cover how we’re doing, where we’re going, and what steps need to be taken to get there. Some of the things that I’ll include are:

  1. What am I required to do?
  2. Have I managed to do this? If not, why?
  3. What do I need to do to enable me to complete the task?
  4. What do I need from my team to allow me to complete the task?
  5. Evaluate the work at present. What’s going well and less well?
    • Use screenshots of your work to help explain the entries
    • Think about tutorials you could use and how to further develop your skills
    • If you’re coding, you can still assess the assets you’ve been given

What am I required to do?

As per the group contract that I signed for this project, I maintain the role of programmer/game designer. This means I’ll be responsible for the general layout of the game scene as well as the coding that goes on behind the scene. Some of my other tasks have included developing a weather system, looking at particle systems, and making any animations for certain models within the scene – all of these are to add life to the level, to make it look as though the environment is alive despite the lack of a player.

Have I managed to do this? If not, why?

While the project has obviously not been completed, I feel as though I have contributed adequately to each task that has been set out before us. In fact, there are items that I have picked up along the way that I didn’t anticipate I would need to touch. I feel like this is because Unreal is unfamiliar to the entire group and there has been a roller coaster of a learning curve. However, any time I feel like an animation isn’t quite right or a particle system isn’t its best, I always refer back to the opinion of the team.

What do I need to do to enable me to complete the task?

I need to keep plugging away. At the end of the day, I’m learning a lot of the game engine on the fly and tutorials have been indispensable to expanding my abilities. I have spent HOURS on YouTube and the Unreal forums, digging through all the different videos and boards that other people are posting, if only to glean some new features we can use in the scene. I feel like this has been the best (and possibly only) way for me to accomplish my job on the project – however, it’s also been useful talking to other people, especially the lecturers, to get their opinions on how they might attack any problems I’ve been having along the way.

What do I need from my team to allow me to complete the task?

Thankfully, everything I need from them is pretty straight-forward: I need their models! However, as we have all discovered along the way, I also need them to adhere to certain pipeline requirements while they’re modelling. Models with too many meshes, sizing issues on importing the FBX files, UV sets not working correctly for shadow/light mapping, and a couple other problems are the ones we’ve all tackled together. As a programmer/game designer, I need to have an asset ready to import straight out of the box without having to fuss too much with it, and in that respect I think the three modellers on the team have quickly adapted to the needs of the project.

Evaluate the work at present. What’s going well and less well?

I think I’ve covered a lot of what’s been going well and what hasn’t, but that we’ve managed to overcome a lot of the problems using teamwork and YouTube/online tutorials. There has been some missing work, including the day/night cycle (and the skybox to go along with it), so I’m worried that this part of the assets will be missing. There are parts of my own work that I have been immensely proud of, including my own phone box asset as well as the animation I applied to it.

I understand it doesn’t seem like a lot, but I do think if we have enough of these little details in the small environment, it won’t feel static at all and instead achieve that “lived-in” feel we’re aiming for.

The other assets I’ve been given have turned out really well in the scene, although I have had to learn about adjusting materials in UE4 once I receive the textures from the other modellers. It took some time to realise that I was plugging in the occlusion texture incorrectly – it’s actually three maps in one (occlusion, roughness, and metallic) which uses the RGB channels to separate them within the material. This has made a huge improvement to the look of the models and they now look a lot closer to the renders the modellers have been producing.

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