Monday, May 29, 2017

Cory Zicolella PPJ: 5/23 - 5/30

We must get steady footage via Unreal Engine 4's sequencer.  For the Vive.  With objects that instantiate after game start.

Three hours pass.
Four.
Five.
Six.






Needless to say, the sequencer, and everything about it, belongs in the deepest, hottest layer of a special hell.  And now that half the art team has gleefully wasted six hours of time that could have been devoted to other things, I ended up doing what I usually do and edited the showcase trailer with normal patented OBS technology.

Angry ranting aside, I was pretty busy this week, as was most of the team.  I remade most of the videos used in the showcase, remade the trailer entirely using the new footage we gathered (which by the way, there have been a myriad of small quality of life improvements to the game itself this last week, and it overall just looks and feel better), and made an updated (finally) video for our website, as to replace the very very old video we have autoplaying right now.

Many many hours went into this week, and at least half of them were put towards something which in the end, wasn't usable.  Unfortunate.

Hopefully in the last weeks we can really crank out the small list of things we have to do.

Postmortem:

This project was a really great experience overall, I feel.  For me, it meant I got to work with a larger team than I ever have before, and really got to know the problems that each team faces as we move forward through development, and learn how to solve those issues and come to a resolution as a dev team (speaking about game issues, not inter-team issues).  Some positive highlights were:

  • Being one part of a large team, where everyone matters
  • Frequent meetings that were productive and necessary into making the game what it is today.
  • Learning how to develop for VR
  • Techniques in how to better time manage
  • Getting a better grasp of the initial process (concepting/revision/scoping)
  • Gaining a solid foundation for VR (mechanics first and foremost, art after)
  • Affirming the CCI team is fundamental into allowing the game to function.
  • A unique style identity for our game
  • An early access release on Steam!!!!!
Some negatives that came out of the project were:
  • Time management.  While also a positive to learn how to do it better, that also means that for a large part of the project, it was done poorly.
  • Integration.  Many of the things we made/planned to make took awhile to actually become included once we initially got the hero assets in.  It is a larger issue now that we have a list of relatively small final touches to do.
  • Accessibility.  For the team members, given that we are developing for the Vive, not everyone has access to it or knows how to set it up properly.
  • Basic things we know needed to be implemented either aren't finished yet or won't be in the showcase build.  While they're important, some things just aren't completed as easily as you'd like, and the game will suffer somewhat because of it.
  • Sound.  Sound design has been a plaguing issue for the team, particularly this term.
Things that I learned:
  • VR.  Everything virtual reality.  Going into this I didn't really have an understanding of what modern day VR was, how good it worked, or what could be done; I actually had very little interest in it and saw it as a gimmick; then again, I only knew of the Oculus.
  • Design strategy.  Early on, we wanted to focus on story within our game.  Stefan shed some light on the situation, stating we have all these great stories but absolutely no mechanics to speak of.  That's when it dawned on me that mechanics have to be done first and foremost in order to have a game and not a book.
  • VR-specific design.  Create solid good feeling mechanics first, make sure models are high poly (for things that are near the player), high framerate performance, and proper utilization of what the hardware offers.
  • Team communication.  I feel I've always been good at this; but Wetware really let me know what it feels like to be part of a functional team, with little snafu's and general friendliness.  We all can joke around when we want to, work when we need to, and someone is around to guide us if we need help.  I haven't really found that in a team before now, and I was starting to feel like this idea never would be a reality.
  • It's important to destress.  Our team really hasn't had a chance to just hang out and not do work, aside from a singular meeting.  While work is incredibly important for the vitality of the game, it is equally important to make sure that the team also has a chance to be normal people too.  The one time we just had fun was really memorable, felt great, and was a good motivator for the last half of the term.  If I had to change one thing moving forward, it would be to have these on a semi-regular basis.  Far too much of our time is knowing one another strictly in a working state, which isn't necessarily the best.

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