Well I apologize in advance for the terrible title of this blog post, but I wanted funny subtitles from movies with the number 3 and Tokyo Drift was the first one that popped into my head. Hopefully this post will be better than that movie though…
Now that my nonsense is out of the way I get to take a serious retrospective on the last prototype. I know for people that have followed my blog you’re probably surprised that this prototype is already over as I’ve barely mentioned it on here. I was so inundated with work over these past two weeks between grading papers, preparing a lecture for our Game Design class (which went fantastic by the way!) and finishing up our game; this blog was one of the things that just kind of fell through the cracks.
But I’ve been scared straight as they say, I got lunch with a good friend of mine Friday who is also an alumni from EAE Cohort 2. He’s just a designer at Disney Interactive now no big deal… He really stressed to me how useful his blog was to him and that it is absolutely a priority. So I’m learning to prioritize my life and plan time for all the important things, and this blog will from now on remain near the top of that list.
So here we have the postmortem board for The Last Pterodactyl. As always, we set out a timeline of development and we lay out what went well and what went poorly in our process. Things that went well are on top and things that could have been better are under the line.
Before I get too into detail on the postmortem, here’s a demo video of our final product. It’s a 2 player game, God versus the Pterodactyl. The Pterodactyl tries to “evolve”(level up) by eating Bibles, once he’s eaten enough he knocks God off his cloud, which you see at the end of this video. God uses all his powers, lightning, comets and mountains, to try and hit the Pterodactyl and keep this from happening. As you can see this is my most complete prototype yet and there are many reasons why.
First off, the good things. As always, I’ve been privileged to work with some amazing people. You can see in the upper left of our board that right from the start we realized we had an awesome team and we all really came together to execute the vision of the game. Tina did an incredible amount of research into other games in our genre and what exactly it meant to be “indie” which helped us a lot going forward. We had a good asset pipeline which came from establishing an early design document for the whole team to refer to and keeping constant communication open.
Our team was super hard working and we had a first playable prototype just a little over a week into the process, which was an amazing help going forward. It gave us the time to playtest thoroughly and I can’t stress enough how much that improved our game. We had ample time to incorporate player feedback and the final product was so much more fun to play.
As producers we learned a lot about pitching games. Tina made a great powerpoint that got our ideas across, we narrated a gameplay video to walk our audience through what they were seeing, and we really cut out on design elements. I also made this sell sheet to give to our audience which was very well received by the Professors. I see it in my own work and in everyone else’s, we’re all learning so fast and the things that we’re producing now are just leagues beyond what we were doing three short months ago.
As always, we had some drawbacks, but they were very mild for our team this time around. We had a little trouble settling on a theme but a large part of that came from our inexperience with making something feel “indie”. We had some technology issues but that was just constraints of the program we used, our dynamite engineers found ways to power through and get the work done. Lastly we had some illness that detracted from productivity, but it’s not really something that came out of neglect. Life just happens sometimes.
I do believe the sickness was a good lesson for us as producers though. We should try to keep a holistic view of the development process and realize that anything can happen to a team in their personal lives that could effect workflow. This is something we need to try to prepare for as best as possible, be it through adding some buffer time in our scheduling or ensuring redundancy in our personnel needs on a team.
The Last Pterodactyl was a huge success for me personally and I hope each of my team members feels the same. It’s a game I’m proud to have worked on and I learned a whole lot during this process that will certainly carry on into future endeavors.