Game Dev Adventures!, Helping Hand

Game Prototype 2, Week 3 — It’s Over! :) / :(

What a great project and a great team I got to work with. I can’t believe it’s over already!

We put in a ton of work that last two days. I couldn’t sleep on Tuesday so I went into the lab at about 5am, and I came up with a plan so we could finish on time. Our producer Travis showed up around 8am, so in the loudest voice I could muster I told him my plan for getting it done, which was: we needed to stop focusing on bugs and focus on adding features. It’s a prototype after all. The bugs don’t matter, the game features do. Travis said that James really wanted to fix the jumping bug so how about a one hour compromise. Sounded good to me. When James showed up around 8:45 I told him my plan, without the one hour, and he really wanted to work on the jumping bug still. Travis had some serious foresight on that one. I told James he had one hour.

At our standup at 9am Travis had me lead it so I went counter clockwise starting with Trav and ending with me. It was really funny when it got to James because he told everyone I’d given him an ultimatum: he had one hour to fix the jumping bug and then he had to move on. It was only slightly embarrassing, but I wasn’t wrong. We did need to move on. In fact, moving on is what made it so we got our game done on Thursday! James was really sick, and I was still recooperating, and Swapnil really stepped up and got some things done that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

I love how our game turned out. It is SUPER FUN to throw “Luigi.” Try it out!

“Donkey Kong 2.0”

Thursday was presentation day and we did something different: we showed our professors the game at our desk and then when we were done we showed it informally to our peers. When we showed the game on Thursday we got a mostly positive review from our professors. One thing they didn’t like about the game was one thing I didn’t either: Pauline was supposed to be the hero and she was in a mini skirt. I asked for pants, twice, but didn’t want to push our artist who had his heart set on basing Pauline of the original artwork. However the thing our professor pointed out is that the art was in dissonance with the story: it was still chauvinistic. Other than that, I felt really good about what we did. One of our professors, a producer, said he would have liked to have seen us add more new mechanics to the game, but of all the games this time around, ours was the most difficult to engineer. It was a feat just to get down what we did! During our informal presentation one of our fellow engineers asked us how we were able to write the collision in flash because he had tried to write this game in flash and couldn’t get the collision to work. I think that comment really put in perspective for the rest of the teams how brilliant o.

And I love where it could have gone too!

level2_mock_up

Post-Mortem

Game2-PostMortem-Small

Obstacles We Overcame

Not knowing as3 was easily overcome by having James help us code, which he was happy to do. Having James help out became such a big asset to the game that I am glad we had that block to begin with.

Getting that first playable done in time was a bit of a stretch. We basically had one class period to come up with the code and we at least were able to get something done on our due date!

The next big obstacle was the code scrap and two of us getting sick. But this was such a great team that there really wasn’t any slack, we all just worked hard to get it done. Another obstacle that came out was the difficulties of handling gravity and collision in flash, but that one was overcome by hard work and also by recognizing that this was a prototype and what really mattered was the fun stuff we came up with, not the bugs we didn’t fix.

The Awesome Stuff

I LOVED that I got to use git as our version control this time around too. It really helped with all the merging we had to do. I can’t imagine having to resolve all those conflicts and deal with all the branching we had going on if we’d used SVN.

The team was great and despite illnesses and code setbacks, morale was high throughout. It was a great team to be a part of.

Our game concept was strong and our EPs liked it.

After certain illnesses our output increased dramatically: we realy worked hard.

Adding in Luigi as a character we could throw around and break the barrels with made the game incredibly FUN!

I really think that if we’d had just one more week for coding we really could have added in some having stuff!

What I learned

In a prototype it’s not about resolving bugs, it’s about adding lots of cool features!! It’s not about being perfect, it’s about showcasing something new. Once you have all the cool features added, you test to see what is fun. Then you burn your prototype code and write the game in a real game engine with code that has good programming practices that can be reused. But, that’s not a part of the prototype. Moral: DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME ON BUGS! JUST TRY COOL NEW STUFF!!

I think the most exciting things we found were 1) going backwards was a different, more exciting game, and 2) throwing Luigi is fun!

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