Jed Merrill, Producer/Game Designer

Week 5

Tuesday, September 22, 2015.

I get back from Denver around noon on Monday, exhausted but happy.  I love meeting with investors and business people, and it is good practice being an ambassador for B.E.S.T.

Tuesday starts with a 9 am standup meeting and some minor technical problems that we soon resolve.  We would like to get in our I/ITSEC entry by the end of today, about two days early, just in case we find out we need more time.

Eric and I meet with Brian and Jose again, this time primarily about the legal future of our game and peer evaluations which are due tonight.  At the end of the meeting, I hand over a third draft of our One Page Game Design Document, this time addressing specifically what we intend to do for this class rather than the long term big picture with investors, etc.  The document is as much about Jose and Brian understanding what we are trying to do as it is our own team understanding where we are going.

I follow up with AJ about our Omni, which should be here late this year.  We also discuss CyberHeist’s road to victory at I/ITSEC last year.  They had about a year more polish than we do at this moment, which makes me nervous about our still relatively unfinished entry.

Eric, Ahmad, and I have lunch at The Crimson View, where I fill Ahmad in on what I have learned about foreign students being compensated for a project like this.  I also explain what happens behind closed doors at our Producer meetings.  Overall we are pretty relaxed for having such a close deadline.

I have a meeting in Pleasant Grove at 3:30, after which I hurry back for Paper Prototyping at six and then back to the lab to help with documentation at nine.  Eric and I text back and forth about key issues until eleven, but it looks like we have in what we need to, for the moment.

Thursday, September 24, 2015.

Merry Christmas!  I bring in an Oculus Rift DK1, a Leap Motion controller, and an Audio-Technica microphone so we can start testing our game in its official environment, a definite priority as we don’t want to just have BEST on Oculus be a PC port.  I also order a VR Developer Mount from Leap for $25.

Our build is in a day early for I/ITSEC, so today is all about our next iterations and features.  Shahbaz is doing great work on The Void environment.  Eric, Nidal, and I focus on building an updated features list and user experience target for mid-November, two weeks ahead of I/ITSEC.

Eric and I will spend part of the next week rewriting our script to be a bit longer experience.  Eric says he has a friend helping to build a BlueTooth weapon for the game.  Everyone likes the website I put together two weeks ago, though we are not adding video or photos yet, just ways to contact us and a schedule of where we will present over the next few months so we can meet up with potential investors and partners.  The events include IGDA meetings, UDEN, I/ITSEC, and GDC.  We may also present alongside The Void.

Brian takes each of us aside to review the peer review data collected on Tuesday.  So far so good!  We have one more peer review checkpoint in a few weeks and another at the end of the year.

Beyond B.E.S.T., the buzz today is about Salt Lake ComicCon.  Ahmad is setting up one of his GApp Lab games there, and I bought a Gold Pass so I can attend panels and events all three days.  Trying to decide if I should attend the Superhero Run on Saturday…

Thursday to Saturday, September 24 – 26, 2015.

Salt Lake Comic Con is amazing.

I buy a Gold Pass, the best available after a VIP pass, and it saves me a lot of time standing in line.  I also get a few minute head start on the showroom floor.  Over the three day period, I buy seven prints, three t-shirts, three books, and some really good Cambodian food that supports the construction of a Cambodian Buddhist temple in Salt Lake.  The chilled coconuts are especially good.

I attend about twenty-five panels including one Saturday night by three founders of The Void, meet a Creative Director from EA, try out for a featured extra role in the movie The Comic Con, discover the R2 Builders Club, and run into some old EAE and film friends.

My Top Panels of 2015:

How to Support a Story Through Art

Studio C

Salt Lake Comic Con Film School Parts 2 and 3

The Universality of Hayao Miyazaki’s Storytelling

Background and Environment Design for Comic Books

Causeplay:  Using Cosplay in Charity

With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story (documentary and Q&A)

Agents Among Us: Ingress: Google’s Augmented Reality Game

Gaming and Relationships

Disney Infinity 3.0

Into the Void: The Future of Virtual Reality

I also attend one called Your Opinion Sucks: Critics v. the Audience, which pitted half a dozen local film critics against a frustrated audience.  I ask one question of the panel:

“Jean Sibelius, a Finnish composer, once gave hope to creatives everywhere by saying a statue has never been erected to a critic.  Do you think there should be an Oscar for Best Critic, and what should be the criteria?”

The journalists laugh and say a statue has actually been erected to Siskel and Ebert in Chicago.

Hope crushed! 🙂

Thank you to Disney Avalanche for the not yet released Disney Infinity 3.0 Yoda figure!  They gave out 900 Infinity 3.0 toys to those in attendance at their Saturday panel.


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