First of all, thank you to the entire team for working so hard on this prototype. We had a lot of problems along the way but you guys dealt with each one of them with strength and poise and we never lost our heads no matter how difficult it got. Congratulations on a great prototype.
The last week of prototyping before fall break was, as you might imagine, jam-packed with all sorts of fun. Some of the biggest problems involved our original selling point, gravity. I may have mentioned this before, but when our main character collides with a dirt square, he digs. When he falls, he collides and he digs and therefore, it was impossible to dig a straight, horizontal corridor because he would fall as you moved and make a sort of arc as you moved from one side to the other. He also continued to dig any time you stopped. We decided that we were running out of time to include this feature and we would much rather have a working game than a broken game with a single working feature that may or may not be fun. So, like the original Dig Dug, we made the gravity affect only the rocks in the level rather than everything. We also implemented a grid system so the character could create more narrow passages, increasing the chance that he will be able to squish the bad guys. With these two changes, a scoring system, and a dragon that was far less formitible (he was almost impossible to beat originally), we were able to deliver a decent prototype to the executive producers. It wasn’t exactly what we expected to deliver, but we delivered.
Most of the things that could have been done better came down to planning and communication. We took far too long deciding on the technology we wanted to use to create the game. Because of this, we wasted an entire week of work when the time frame was so short that we couldn’t spare a day. More research early in the process on a tool that would serve our purposes best would have saved a lot of time in the long run. Also, we had some problems understanding and expressing exactly what the game was, exactly. Communicating what the game is needs to be one of our greatest skills, not one of our greatest weaknesses. We’ll have to practice this one.
Some of the things we were able to do well was the implementation of project management software and keeping focused on the important features instead of getting caught up in unneccessary features or mistakes we may have made. We used some online software called Trello for the first time during this project and, though it took some getting used to, we found it to be very helpful in keeping all of us accountable to the tasks we needed to perform.