All posts by Tyler Ricks

March 24 The Final Push

Well, Spring Break is over.  Everyone seemed to have a good time, and I hope we’re all refreshed so we can push hard to finish the game and publish it before we graduate.  After a week of break most of the students seem to be in agreement that we shouldn’t make major changes to the game, and I like that idea.

So far our biggest push is to work with lighting.  Sherry is doing some lighting tests, and I am lighting the inside of the house in Maya.  Hopefully I can do a good job and we can bake out the light to add some good shadowing to the world and make the game look the best we can.

March 19 Spring Break

So, I was just learned that Rockwell Collins has officially offered me a full-time position when I graduate.  I am very excited about the opportunity, although I will continue to apply for other game positions.  The position looks like a very good starting position that has to opportunity to turn into a good career.  The company is very strong and most of the employees have worked there for decades.  I think it would be a good place to work.

I am also excited for other people to get job offers.  There have already been other students get offers, and I hope we are all able to get good jobs.  I also hope after we leave we will be able to keep in contact and network well with each other.

March 10 After GDC

So GDC was very educational for all of us, and we had a large meeting to discuss what we learned and what to do about it.  Right now there seems to be two different camps: those who want to keep the game the same and focus on finishing it the best we can, and those who want to make changes to the game to fix problems.  Right now there isn’t much time left in the semester, so I think I’m in the first camp.

There have been some suggestions for more major changes to the game, and I am against that.  Although some of the ideas are very good, I don’t think we have to time to implement them, test them, and fix all the bugs before our publishing date.  Plus I think it will be harder to get full work out of everyone because many people are (rightly so) focusing on applying for jobs.

March 7 GDC

So this week was the week of GDC.  I learned a lot, and it was a really cool experience.  Probably the most important part of the process was getting player feedback from the booth at the Expo Hall.  I had never manned a booth at the expo hall before and it was a education session.  The first thing I learned is that most people at an expo hall want a simple experience that last a few seconds, rather than sitting down for fifteen minutes and really getting to know our game.

That also meant that players would get confused and lost a lot, not having enough time to really read instructions or to comprehend concepts.  It will be interesting to talk about this with the team, and decide if this is a problem of the presentation environment or if it is a system problem for our game.

February 26 Week before GDC

Well, we got all the art done we needed for GDC.  Sherry did an amazing job set dressing the house and getting it all finished.  Chris textured the barn and now it’s in the game too.  I built some more last-minute assets and Chris and I built a new arm and lantern.  Because those assets are in front of the character for most of the game, it was more important than we realized that they be high resolution.

The engineers also did a very good job.  We worked with them to make sure our assets could be implemented easily and not break the game.  We also had a meeting with everyone to make sure we were on the same page for GDC and everyone was prepared for presenting our game and making it seem as good as possible.

We also worked with the producers to make sure we finished everything important for GDC.  I personally wished we could have had more lighting in the game, but we have plenty of time afterwards to work on that.  I talked with Sherry and she agreed that lighting should be our next major task for the next semester.

February 5, 2015

Progress is continuing on the game.  I’ve been working on beating up the house so it’s not so perfect.  Christ is making rocks and modifying the textures.  Jing is painting story panels for the story, and Sherry is working on the lighting.  I’m really worried about how we’re going to back the lighting, but she’s being working for a long time so I don’t think it will be a major problem.

I still need to model the barn, and then we need to texture it.  Chris has expressed interest in texturing the house, and I think it would be better for him to do that, and for me to focus on building the barn.  As soon as that is done we’ll have most of our major assets finished, and we can focus on polishing.

Our story is also coming along, and I must say I am pleased with it.  After a few weeks of really hasing through the story is now works really well and flows well into itself.  We were able to removed the major, confusing parts that were holding the story back, and now the story makes sense.

January 29

Progress is coming along well with the game.   The biggest change over the last few days has been the creation of a new story.  We got together as as small team and made major changes to the story, but I feel like they were positive changes.  We made no fundamental changes to the story, and greatly simplified it.  In addition, we made a number of changes that tied back into the story and make it feel more cohesive.  We also decided we would show the changes with simple pictures during the game, which I feel is the best way of telling the story with the least amount of expenditure of resources.

We are working through texturing and lighting the house, and we’ve run into some unexpected problems.  But the team has responded well, and we’ve been working as hard as we can.  I think we can stay on schedule while also keeping quality high, and we have enough time to get through all the problems.

January 15, 2015

Well, progress is continuing on the game.  We’ve had a few good meetings where we’ve resolved critical problems in the past, and now things are progressing much smoother.  The art team is working really well and everyone is making stuff consistently.  Hopefully we’ll be able to continue that trend into the future.

Major story and design decisions are currently being made, and we’re doing the best we can to support everyone.  We’ve made a temporary asset list to try and finish the assets and get them textured before we start texturing.  Sherry is also starting to do lighting tests, because I believe that is the next major step in the production of the game.  I want to get the assets finished as quickly as possible so we can focus on lighting and polishing the game to make it as good as possible.

Push Week December 4

Work is progressing well on the game.  We had a meeting with the design team last week and came up with a solution to multiple problems.  When the art team finishes an asset, we’ll now show it to the entire team and let everyone see it.  That will give the team a chance to see what we’re working on and give any necessary feedback, and it will hopefully cut down on the amount of wasted work the art team does.  We discussed with the design team how sometimes assets have be redesigned after they’re already finished, which wastes large amounts of work.

We’re also getting to a point in production now where things are moving very quickly and we need to get things finished.  I want to have most of the art finished by the end of February, which will give us a few months to polish, fix bugs, and make sure everything is working well.  That means we only have nine more weeks of class, so we need to be finishing things quickly and moving on to other things.

Most of the artists are happy and producing good work.  The major concern has been people redesigning art and wasting time.  Hopefully showing the team our art will help cut down on that.  I also worked to communicate with the design lead how our art progress work, and personally talked with him about trying to make sure problems are caught early in the production process before work is wasted.  I think that will help, and I’ll keep a record of progress on that.

November 13

Progress is continuing on the game.  We had a very productive meeting about the future of the art assets, and the decision was made to try to include the outside of the house, and well at potentially some other farm buildings.  That means that all the work we’ve done on those parts won’t be wasted, and we’ll be able to include them inside the game.  That fills up the backlog for the art team and means that everyone had work to do.

They also want to do a test with a ghost, which Jing is working on right now.  We’ll test it next week and see how it looks, and if it does it will allow us to add more story elements to the game.  I think that is the current biggest weakness of the game, so I’m excited to improve it.

This does, however, mean that the art team will need to spend time making the house and putting in all the assets.  But I think we’re up to it.  Sherry is improving the assets and I’ll use my modular system to hopefully be able to make buildings quickly without wasting time.