Production Blog Post Mortem
Hello everybody and welcome to the final installment of the Parasitic development logs from the production side. I want to personally thank everyone for taking part and keeping up to date with the development of the game. My name is Dylan Levy-Gantt and I was the producer on this game. I handled the tasks for the rest of our 10 man team. I worked alongside Alex Olah, the game designer, to complete a development of a strategic, turn-based fantasy squad control game. This was one of the first of its kind for the major and we jam packed a lot into the final result.
Since this is the postmortem of the entire project, there are some key points before I show off everyones work where I personally saw growth in my career as a producer. This was the first time I played this part in the class and I learned so much about video games and their creation that I'm excited to share the results. Without further ado, My personal journey through development in some concise points.
First, WHAT WENT WRONG?
Okay so this was overall a very solid development but not without its flaws. About midway through production, we started to slow down productively and got less work done than usual. This is overwhelmingly due to my friendlier attitude towards my classmates rather than a professional one. What's funny is, outside of class, I'm actually very direct and forward with my thoughts but I just had a softer side of me in my natural state for the beginning of the project. My guess is that these people around me are my friends and peers so I don't want the class to interfere with their personal lives too much. However, I eventually snapped out of it after getting a wake up call from our professor Jeff. I instantly switched mindsets to be a more direct and professional producer and the work immediately caught up. Every sprint after that we outperformed and we eventually got an amazing game in the process. I'm gonna say this a lot but HUGE shout out to the team.
Other than that major dynamic shift that helped us out in the long run, there was another mix up with some cards. Long story short, if there's work done after a trello task card has been completed, make a new card and don't just throw it in to the old one because it will mess up development. This was a mistake that will absolutely never happen again. The major lesson was the attitude change though.
Next, WHAT WENT RIGHT?
Ever since the beginning, the game was on a great track for success. Alex pitched a game that we all immediately knew what he was going for. I usually despise games like these but this process really made me appreciate the core fundamentals of what makes the game fun. The other core factor to making a game of this size work is of course the management of development. I was extremely on top of my responsibilities for the class and basically lived on the trello board. Every single day I was tracking information and who did what task so I could remain in the know for development. I had individual burndown charts per person that kept track of the progress and peak potential that that person is capable of doing which kept productivity up and the features coming. Since I was already in this class last semester, I have experience and a reference point for what the producer is supposed to do to keep the team afloat and everyone productive. This time, I was in the producer role rather than the game designer's so I had a full plan of attack from day one. The results speak for themselves and it turned out great.
How can I forget the main reason this game looks and plays the way it does? I would be nothing without the amazing team we got. The countless hours and the exploding passion everyone on the team had was something to behold. I'm glad I pushed everyone to their potential a bit this game.
Third, WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY?
At first glance, this seems like a pretty self-explanatory question. I would just not do the things that made us weak in the first place. It's a bit deeper than that, though. I personally have to play a professional role in the class where friendships may need to come second and that is a big one I am willing to accept. At the end of the day I want to be able to say I'm a really professional game producer and I'm good at my job because people can rely on me. If I leave room for everyone else's opinion, I will quickly sink and never be able to move ahead. At a certain point, career takes precedence over many other things. Overall, I would establish a more executive feeling presence from day one rather than having to play catch up from there on.
Fourth, WHAT WOULD YOU DO AGAIN?
Again, this seems pretty obvious. I can wholestically say that the state of the game wouldn't be as good as it is without the constant attention and risk mitigation I had to do. I had to see three steps ahead of development and I can conceptualize things pretty well like that. So as soon as we hit the ground running, I was already seeing the development arc starting to form. This allowed us to have our minds be thinking about awesome features rather than bugs that should have never been there in the first place. Being this on top of my responsibilities was something that was fairly easy actually since I lived on my computer for COVID. Speaking of COVID, there was absolutely nothing that held us back in this regard. Everyone was on top of their responsibilities and they absolutely killed it!
Fifth, WHAT DID I LEARN?
Holy cow, do I definitely want to be a game producer or at least help in video games any way I can. I have always wanted this type of atmosphere of development and making something happen with a group of people and seeing how far it can go is exhilarating. I am absolutely in love with it and this class will always be the puzzle piece I needed to start establishing myself seriously in the video game and tech industry as a whole. I learned that there are so many people bursting with talent around us that it only takes someone like me to push them to their limit and help them learn something about themselves and what they are capable of. I feel so honored to be in a position that allows my peers to push to be a better version of what they were prior to knowing me and I will always cherish that as a sign that I'm going down the right path.
PHEW, okay, now I get to show off the amazing work from our team. The first people I want to show off is our amazing Modeling department.
First, Brandon Uenaka.
Above you will find every single model that Brandon made for us throughout the development of the game. I've never seen such high quality low poly asset creation eve in my life. Brandon cannot be underestimated this man is a workhorse. Brandon said multiple times that he felt uncomfortable when he had task cards because that meant people were waiting for him so he always got them done super quickly and with extremely high quality. Monumental shoutout to Brandon.
Next, our other modeler Devin Spencer.
Devin was our amazing character modeler whom we gave complete autonomy to to create the models for the game. As you can see, he knocked it out of the park. The art style matches the low poly game and couldn't have been handled better. You can definitely tell that Devin worked super hard on the asset creation and he had a real care when creating them. Devin also completely reskinned the tutorial level where there is a fun dark souls easter egg if you can find it! Brandon and Devin are absolutely amazing and I can't believe we got both of them on one team.
Next department up we have programming. Our programming team was absolutely amazing and without them all putting in 110%, this game would be nothing like it is. First up in this category is Jeremy Casada, our game systems and feature programmer.
Jeremy was able to get in the UI for this sprint and do the enemy sounds for the game so when you play it and kill an enemy, that's him!
I cannot overstate how enjoyable and respected Jeremy is as a programmer and fellow classmate. Jeremy is always down to help out in any way he can and he completed tasks like it was no one's business. Jeremy was the most efficient worker on the team and was able to clear so many features like it was nothing. Amazing guy.
Next programmer we have is Ryan Dangerfield. Ryan was such a core part of this game his programming knowledge and problem solving skills are immaculate. Ryan made absolutely no groans or complaints whatsoever it was kind of scary to witness. He just kept completing huge core features overnight like a demon. I love Ryan and he was absolutely a joy to work with.
Right click to see range of the basic attack before you move.
Objective-based win condition.
Thank you so much to Ryan who was an amazing teammate and friend.
Next programmer we have Chase O'Connor.
Chase actually went back and made an extensive documentation for his code so that if this project was to be passed off to another group they would be able to reference it and understand which parts of code reference other parts.
Chase was awesome during development and super fun to work with. Chase was very work-hard play-hard so Chase would be having a side conversation but I never wanted to interrupt the process because the amount of quality work that he would hand over just elicited so much respect. Huge shout out to chase for being super dynamic and willing to help with any part of development.
Our last department is Level Design!
First up we have Zoey Yan
Zoey was such a talented level designer that I now have such a high bar for what a level designer is capable of doing that it's crazy. Zoe was definitely the one I heard the least in development but I always assumed it was because she was working so hard because just look at the quality of these maps. I'm aware that she didn't make assets but she was responsible for the layout of the maps which look amazing. Thank you to Zoey for teaching everyone how to pull their weight.
Next level designer is Joseph Warren.
Joe was great to witness over this development because I had to push him extra hard to make sure we stay on schedule with everything in development. After switching gears around sprint 3 with my attitude, I was able to push Joe to produce such high quality levels that I was amazed. Not only did he create an iconic medieval airship base, but he took on the responsibility for the experimental level we have where the player must travel to many locations to beat the actual map. Amazing work Joe and thank you so much for your hard work.
Lastly, we have Alexander Johns!
Xander was amazing to witness as well. His ability to clearly see the level in his head, translate it to a nice annotated map and then execute the level on all sides with accuracy and theme is astonishing. Whenever something seemed off, Xander would go straight up to me and ask to clarify. This kept everyone on the same page with development and allowed Xander to stay in the know. Overall, Xander is super creative and bursting with potential I'm super glad I got to witness this passion first hand.
Welp, there you have it everyone. This is the final wrap up of development for Parasitic on the production side. I have loved every single moment of creation and development and know this is only the start to my long career developing games.
From everyone at the Parasitic Studios, I've been your producer Dylan and I hope everyone has a nice night.
See you next time. :)
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