Synoptic Project – Final Post

I will be linking to A LOT of my posts, which throughout the project have covered all the necessary parts of the creation pipeline. There are a few points that need to be covered when retrospectively looking back to the beginning of the project:

  • Idea generation and pitching
  • Pre-production and planning
  • Team composition and job roles
  • Production and team management
  • Post-production and publishing

It’s a bit small to see, but hopefully the flowchart can be seen portraying what stages we covered (or are currently going through, in post-production):

Flowchart

The beginning of the pipeline shows where we came up with the concept and created the pitch, which was then chosen – the game concept itself was something I’d been wanting to tackle for a while (since I wanted to do a VR game from when we bought our own Vive at home), so Marc and I sat down to hash it out over our winter holiday.

After we finished the pitch, we were given a week of waiting while the lecturers decided on the group selection. We were hoping to work with a couple people we’d already been on project with (Nikki and Adam), but anyone else who joined in on the team would be more than welcome (especially any concept artists). As a result, we ended up being a team of six: 1 programmer, 2 concept artists, and 3 3D modellers.

From there, we all sat down together to hash out a plan and start working on a number of paperwork requirements. We needed a production schedule, a burndown chart, an asset list (which everyone could pick off of), a few tech spec documents, class/activity diagrams, and so on.

We needed to have a basic idea of what the room would look like, what minimum assets we’d need to fill out the room, and a general idea of the sounds we’d want to include. That’s why all of the documentation was so important; with the different information, we would always be able to check back that we were on the right track. I think a lot of this pre-production attention was the reason we managed to finish a quality minimum viable product and had plenty of time to focus on learning new techniques/skills. This was especially important to allow extra time in the planning for the 3D modellers, who were having to hand-paint their models rather than using pre-made textures.

Throughout the project, I wrote a lot of blogs about the team and how we all managed to get on during each task and/or hurdle. We had some bumps along the way, but we all scrummed regularly (also very important!) and kept in contact with one another through Facebook messenger. This allowed to a very open forum, where anyone could come forward with questions or concerns about the project – I didn’t feel like I was losing control of the project at any point, however, and I’m sure the rest of the team would agree. Half the battle in a group is communication and I think we managed to nail that down pretty early on, so if there were any problems it was easy to instantly address and solve them.

As for post-production, we’ve got about a week and a half left until the expo on the 21st (although the set up is on the 20th). We engaged in a lot of “quality assurance” once I’d built the MVP version of the game – this was very important to us, because it’s so easy to be too close to your own work, you miss the forest for the trees. We needed outside eyes to look at the work and give us some extra feedback. While we’ve been busy with our portfolios, from tomorrow onwards we’ll be able to implement the changes and upgrades to the MVP version to come up with a real quality product for the expo.

While I think I ended up enjoying my participation in the Imagined World project, we learned so much from that and applied those lessons to this project, which I personally feel went A LOT better. This could have been because there were more people on board, so we could go for a bigger MVP ideal, but I’m really proud of what the team accomplished during these last few months.

I posted this in one of the last production blog posts I did, but I’m still sometimes flabbergasted at how far we came from the very beginning to the game we have now, so I have to show it again to end off this post…

Room2Capture13

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