Postmortem Prototype 2

We reached the end of our 3 week second project. We created this postmortem timelime of the project. On the good side of the project, we had a strong concept of what we wanted to do. We wanted to make Donkey Kong backwards and add a Luigi mechanic of throwing him to block barrels. We had a good response from our EP’s about the potential of our project. Another plus for our team is that the further we got into the project the more work we started doing and the content of the game started flowing nicely. Another thing that we were super happy about is that throwing Luigi is fun. We found a fun mechanic that we could play with.

Our struggles with this project started when one of our programmers got sick. I jumped on board the engineering team and we found some code online to help us get a playable and a good foundation of our code. It did get us a first playable, but it was poorly written. It had too many problems in it’s collision system. So after our first playable we re-factored the code and I wrote a semi better collision system. Once we got back to the playable point, our sick programmer was caught up to speed and they were able to run with the code we had. I’m super proud of what our engineering team accomplished with the time we had. Another block that we ran into was balancing the game. With our first round of play tests, we found that our game was super easy. We fixed things in our game based on feedback from the testers. This caused the game to become super difficult for the final play through with our professors.

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One of the things that I felt really proud of with this project happened during our final pitch to our class. One of the programmers from the class asked us how we did the collisions because he had previously tried to create Donkey Kong in flash and ran into problems with collisions that we had. He complemented us on how well our collisions work.

It was an interesting experiment trying to work more with the programming team. I keep wondering if my involvement with the engineers actually impeded their progress instead of helping it along. Though I would not go back on the decision.

Here is the Game! Game Link

Cutting the deadline

Our Executive Producers have cut our time by a week because of fall break. Instead of giving us a week during the break to have a fleshed out prototype we get until 10/10/13. The saving grace is that instead of a formal presentation in front of the class, we are having a small elevator pitch with a sit down and play the games session with our EPs. With that in mind, we have to cut back the scope on our project. We got the game code back to where the online code was and now we are making the necessary changes to make it our own game.

We decided to add a Luigi mechanic to the game. Our game is going to be Pauline the princess running down the tower after a clumsy Luigi climbed up. She is going to have to bring Luigi down the tower. The mechanics that we are going to play with are all using Luigi as a shield, as a deterrent, as a utility item, or anything else that could seem fun. We already have seen that the running down mechanic is fun, but we are about a good days work until the code will make the game fun. We have divided the responsibilities of the code between the two programmers and myself and we are hard at work to get a fun game.

I’m not sure what to think about jumping fully onto the engineering team. It’s fun to be back in the code and organizing how we get all of it done, but I feel like I might be putting too much onto my co-producer even though he tells me that the opposite is true.

With deadlines closing, we are going to be pushing hard until the end. Go Fight Win Team! We can do it!

Prototype 2 Donkey Kong but better :)

With a successful Prototype 1 behind our cohort, we were given a new challenge for the next prototype. We were given new teams (I’m with Travis, Nancy, Swapnil, and Christopher) and a new assignment. We were to take an 1977-1983 arcade game and recreate it in Flash or HTML5. Then were were to change one mechanic in a way that it would still be fun. We have a week to accomplish this one task in a white box prototype. Our artists will be working on lots of concept art while the engineers quickly make a playable white box of the game. We gathered as a team to make the first tough decision: What game should we do? Of all the amazing games to come out of the arcade era of gaming, which one should we do? We quickly brainstormed about 6 games what we wanted to play around with and through discussion and forcing ourselves to narrow down we got to Asteriods and Donkey Kong. From an Engineer point of view, Asteriods was the easier to do, but our team wanted the challenge of adding and changing Donkey Kong. We finally made our decision: DONKEY KONG!

We plan to change the climbing up mechanic to a going down mechanic. Something simple to start off with and see if it’s fun. The next decision was what language we were going to use. My team chose to use Flash. I have used Actionscript for quite a few games, but the engineers of our team have not used HTML5 or Flash. The Engineering team approached me after there decision to use Flash and asked if I would like to introduce them to Flash and maybe even do some programming on top of my Producer responsibilities. Our Professors have encouraged us to expand ourselves and to try new things with every group. In my last group I tried to stay away from the programming and let the engineers take care of it. Now I’m going to try a more hands on Production role with the Engineers. I don’t plan on programming the whole game by myself, but I’ve been writing some code and peer programming with our engineers to catch them quickly up to speed on Actionscript. I’m not going to jump tracks to the Engineering, but it feels good to be involved with the code again. Travis, my co-producer, has taken quite well to the decision to that I work closely with the Engineers.  Travis and I are also going to be using a Project Management software to help keep track of our week to week tasks and our backlog. for this small team project we are using Trello. We have been introduces to a product called Hansoft that is for bigger teams and projects. I hope to learn enough from starting in something basic like Trello that when we get to bigger groups we can use Hansoft effectively.  So far the first 3 days of this project have been a blast! I can’t wait to see what else we is going to happen with our Donkey Kong game.