Production Blog 3- Into the Woods
Welcome folks to the end of sprint 3. As always I am here to go over lessons learned and work that my team has accomplished from my perspective as a producer. Before I get too far into the content from this sprint, I would like to remind everyone reading this that Into the Woods now is available for you to download and playtest! Since making games is an iterative process, the more people we get try our game the better, so please try it out if you have not already! Also, last sprint review I talked briefly about time management and how as a producer it was a vital aspect of this position. This sprint I am going to speak briefly on how prioritizing work in your workloads is important, and how it can affect your time management.
As previously discussed, each sprint is 2 weeks long and this means that there is always one whole weekend between when you start and end your sprints. It is also important to know that on the Tuesdays immediately following that weekend is when our newer builds are due. I decided as a producer that if we use time during that weekend to work on our build, we would get ahead of the game and have an easy time turning in our build without being up super late. The thing about this though, is that if you just hand everyone their work without emphasizing what you are needing done first (in this instance for a build coming up), then you run the risk of leading your team into a large trap. This is the sort of mistake that is easy to make and just eats up time correcting priorities and ensuring specific work is done, naturally this is not desirable for any producer.
So how does you, as a producer, avoid this trap? It actually quite simple: you make a plan and make certain that EVERYONE is included in this plan. It would be pretty unreasonable for someone to be upset with you because you were not going with a plan you had no idea existed would it not? Because for this project the position of Producer and Game Designer are separated, (If you have not read Olivia's blog is also here, you should definitely look into it!) the plan starts with the Designer picking what the build/playtest will have in it. This then is translated into what work needs to be assigned to which ever individuals/teams for the sprint (if it has not already been assigned). When the sprint kick off is over, you as a producer must ensure that your different departments are aware of what items they are currently working on are going to be included in the build. This critical information is not magically transferred and relaying it sooner rather than later does wonders for the games development.
Provided this information is relayed clearly and correctly, you should only have to ensure that everyone is staying on task during your standup meetings. It is not a difficult or complex system of managing a workload, but it is never the less important for meeting milestones. It is also important to note that you can plan around obstacles like holidays and similar to stay on track without interrupting peoples off-work hours. Next sprint, I will be going over how communications with members of your team are important, because no one can do what you ask if they don't understand what you are saying! But for now let us look into Sprint 3's highlights!
Sprint 3: A whole new world
During our first build, we did not have any sort of randomly generated level system, because of this we wanted to progress to that point as quickly as possible. This sprint was also special for me because for the first time in my entire career (and possibly the only time), my burn down chart was perfectly lined up. It was amazing!
But enough about charts, lets look at the 2D art and animation team!
2D Art/Animation: Atley and Daniel (with special guest Eder)
Atley has been very busy providing us with loads of concept art, here we have images from different types of enemies that you will face while playing Into the Woods. This first kind is an enemy that has variants that leave bombs around on the ground behind them, note the spooky masks.
This other image is of a different enemy that runs around at random on the map, the third variant will split into 2 smaller enemies when defeated. This ability will be great for keeping players on their toes!
Daniel has been continuing to work hard as our animator and giving the enemies in our world life. Here is an excellent example of an attack animation for our shooting enemies.
We also had help this sprint from our guest model rigging expert Eder! He has been super helpful in giving our player model the work needed so it can be animated! Here is a great image of the model ready to go on their first adventure!
3D Art: Talia and Erika
At Into the Woods, we have an excellent modeling team. Even though Maya Autodesk can be super frustrating most of the time, they have been steadily churning out models for this world we are creating. For this sprint we have Erika working on a wonderful house along with texture sets for both the house and our player character!
Meanwhile Talia was working on the shooting enemy models along with a great treasure chest, notice the wonderful mustaches on the enemy models.
Level Designers: Reggie and Eric
Reggie and Eric have both been busy creating even more tiles for the level generation system. It is really great to see all this hard work they are putting in, the dedication to ensuring the tiles are all different and challenging is really appreciated!
Here we have some of Reggie's finalized tiles from the first set he created, followed by annotated maps for the final set of tiles he will be working on.
And here we have Eric's finalized tiles for the first set he made. He also has created annotated maps for the final set of tiles this last sprint.
Programming: Chase, Paul, JT
Finally we have work from our programming team! This sprint they focused a lot of energy on player interaction with the rest of the game, lets start by looking at Chase's work. Here we have some examples of his programming enemy attacks having bleeding effects and debuffs to the players when they are hit by them.
Chase also worked on spells for unlocking chests and our first boss enemy with special attacks!
This sprint we had JT implement a feature where when you picked up an item, it explains that item to you and freezes the clock!
Lastly we have Paul and his work on enemy AI, if you remember earlier in this very review I showed you concept art for some enemies. Those same enemies now live in the game (albeit as squares for the moment), thanks to Paul! Here is the bomb laying enemy and the enemy that will chase you and explode!
Well here we are, completed sprint 3 and now everyone has a whole week off for spring break! It will be nice to relax, but the moment we get back to work production needs to be in full swing. As we begin working through the second half of our semester, everyone will need to be increasingly busy as our final sprint approaches.
As always thank you to our team and everyone who play tested and gave us player feedback for our game!
Get Into The Woods
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