For this first reflection, I wanted to focus heavily on the topic of group-based and individual decisions. For this first few sprints and the general first challenge as a whole, I actually think our team has handled it fairly well. The first thing I want to discuss was how we divided up the general task work among our group members. Given our interesting team composition of 2 Designers, 1 Producer, and 1 Artist, we’re missing a pretty important role which would be a Programmer.
However, while it might not turn out to be the best idea in the world, we decided that we shouldn’t let this hold us back from pursuing game concepts that we truly felt were interesting and fun. In terms of how we actually handled this situation, we decided that it would be best if the “Product Owner” for each individual game concept went deeper into it and made an attempt to really flesh out the game along with creating a basic digital prototype. The idea behind this was to see how far the ideas could be pushed with only a small amount of the team behind it. If the games were still fun as basic prototypes, then the games would be fun as fully fleshed out and polished games. This decision was also informed by the fact that all of our group members have some form of programming knowledge. This allows us to be able to create basic prototypes with little to no issues.
A decision that I made as an individual during this challenge that I believe was incredibly impactful was the creation of a detailed GDD very early on in the development process. This has allowed me to have a consistent point of reference for all of the digital prototyping that I’ve been doing. A big influence on this decision was actually a lot of my previous development projects. I’ve worked on plenty of projects in the past with poor documentation as a baseline and it’s made it really hard to make a solid digital prototype using it. While there are still sections that can be improved and added to the document to fully flesh it out, setting out a core gameplay loop and the base systems has been immensely helpful for me moving forward with my digital prototype. My most recent projects have all followed this development cycle and every time I do it, my baseline documentation becomes more detailed. It’s been a good experience overall both for my personal skills as well as my ability to contribute to the team as a whole.
While I do believe that most of the things we did during this sprint were actually really helpful and solid, we did have some things that I believe could use improvement. One of these being how we decided to set up our development stories and tasks underneath those stories. A lot of our tasks are larger tasks with descriptions on them, things like “Horizons 2D Mobility Prototype” as a task. While this has been something I’ve tried in the past, I personally feel like it’s been a bit of a hindrance to not see exactly what is being worked on. For the future, I would very much like to change this so that we have tasks that more closely resemble something like “Player Basic Movement” and “Player Double Jump”. In my opinion, this would help us to keep our taskboard more organized and make it much easier to read at a glance.
One last thing I wanted to touch on was the collaboration aspect of our team. I actually feel like we have the potential to work very well together. While we do have two designers present on the team, we actually focus on different aspects of design with very little overlap, this means we can each have our own tasks to work on for design work regardless of what project goes forward. We’ve also managed to come to decisions really cleanly throughout this project, there hasn’t been any infighting or issues as far as I’m aware either and it’s overall just a very healthy team environment so far. I’m looking forward to seeing just how much we can accomplish this semester.