The first year of graduate school ended this week. First year of grad school sounds really strange. Having a game sounds strange. Having a game people like sound extraordinarily strange. But good. All of it. Really really good.
This week we were in crunch mode for EAE Day. Unreal 4 has some peculiar things it does with imported models from Maya, so most of the time was spent getting that to work. Special commendations to Joe who has just been a rock star these last few weeks. He’s developed the toon shader on his own with little documentation to reference, fixed a lighting problem we were having, and built, implemented, and repaired an absolutely beautiful hallway.
Cory developed textures and props for the levels, as well as assisted the rest of the art team in whatever they needed, and Kyle made a particle effect for the premonition exit (it’s smoky and goes “POOF!” in grand comic book style). I worked on the logo and menus for the game wrapper (the bit at the beginning and end of the game as well as the popup menu when you hit pause).
Tony, Brenton, James, Vinod, Abhishek, Sidd, and Skip are the real heroes of the story though, they worked their collective tails off to get a working game in just a couple days. Matt kept the team running and on schedule, I’ve never seen such an up-to-date backlog, and Tina brilliantly kept up with the social media and helped the EAE Day prep.
EAE Day went beautifully. We had two computers to show off the game, we were well placed in the C4 secret lab, and the game looked great. Tony and Matt hung out near the game for most of the day, with the rest of us running around the main studio wrangling people into the other room to come play our game. The game is still buggy, but the mechanic demonstrates really well, and people were able to understand it fairly easily. We got some really good feedback, the most important being “This is fun.” I know that seems like a fairly obvious statement for a game, but at this stage in the development process, it’s actually kind of difficult to be able to show people easily what’s fun about your game. But we’ve done it! I am so proud to be a part of this team, I feel like we’ve really come together toward a common ever since ditching the robot game idea. I guess working toward a common goal will do that to people.
We have a meeting next week to talk about our plans for the summer. About half the team will be away doing internships, some out of the state, so communication may be hard. With the IGF deadline looming at the end of October, we’ll need to have a solid development plan in place for the 8 weeks we’ll have to work on the game when we come back as a team in late August. There will be no time to waste! There may be some work done over the summer, I know I’d like to do as much as possible, but we’ll see.
I have several other projects I’ll be doing over the summer, so I’ll probably keep up with this blog, but likely not weekly. I like being able to see where I’ve been, the blog posts have been so fun to go back and read from this last school year. It’s been an amazing journey, and while definitely one of the most brutal, also one of the most emotionally, personally, professionally, and creatively fulfilling.