Monday, May 29, 2017

Ryan Badurina Postmortem & PPJ: 5/23 - 5/30

[Postmortem can be found after production update.]

PPJ:  F--- Sequencer.  That's all I have to say.

I was able to finally get the project working properly again this week (it was an issue with data caches stored by UE4), and was able to do some work and help out with recording footage for what could have been our updated trailer.  I proposed the idea of using Sequencer earlier in the term to get gameplay recording from third person angles as opposed to the first person angles of a VR Player Camera.

While it helped somewhat, Sequencer proved to be unreliable for recording footage in VR.

Some of the objects we needed to record were objects that only spawned during run-time, aka objects that weren't inherently a part of the arena level.  Also, while recording, the frame rates dropped significantly, making playing the game normally extremely annoying and slow.  Finally, rendering out footage still proved to be a non-explained and frustrating process.  We spent several hours getting this stuff ready for recording, and it netted us zero reward.  We did get some nice 1st person and real-life camera shots, but we were hoping for footage from more of a birds eye view as opposed to the player view.  We decided to drop the sequencer stuff for this term as it is frustrating and not worth the time in the current VR environment.  Hopefully in the future it will be more VR friendly and allow for the recording of "spawn-able objects."

In the meantime, I'm currently looking over and importing / programming in various sound effects for some of our assets, as a few of them are either out-dated or need to be fully implemented.  I wasn't able to fully get into this for this week because of my project issues and because of recording, but with Sequencer being dropped I can work fully on the sound for our game for the rest of the term.

Time:
  -FIXED THE PROJECT!!!  FINALLY!!!:  4 Hours
  -Team Meeting(s):  9 Hours
  -Trailer Recording:  4 Hours
  -Source Control:  1 Hour
  -Sequencer Setup:  1.5 Hours
  -Sound Research & Import: .5 Hours

Total Time: 20 Hours

Pros:
  -Project finally reopens along with the level.  Stupid stored caches,

Cons:
  -Sequencer recording was just a waste of time.  I feel ashamed for even recommending it this late into the term.
  -Audio was pushed aside in favor of the BS Sequencer.  Will be working on it for the next week.




Postmortem:


This probably has to be the best project I have worked on while at Drexel.  I knew it would be a serious time, considering this would be a main portfolio piece and valuable experience for the future, and I'm happy I joined this team when I did.

For over a year, I have been working with these guys in trying to develop something that we could be proud of, but also something we would want to play ourselves.  From our summer days in a small apartment work-shopping ideas to the winter days in a high-tech computer lab for developing and programming our game, we have been very busy and hardworking to make sure that our game was simple, yet effective.  We had debates on how somethings should be done, but overall we found a compromise or solution and continued moving forward.

The highlights of working on Shadow Circuit?:
  -Working with new technologies and software to bring our game to life.
  -As much of a design challenge as an art and programming challenge.
  -Awesome and friendly teammates who constantly remained connected and communicative.
  -A great CCI team who were just as much of the design process as the DIGM team.
  -Releasing our game on Steam, something I never imagined would actually happen for me at Drexel.

Some things that didn't go well/wish we could have done:
  -Weren't able to implement other features to enhance the game experience.
  -Some of us, like myself, lacked the proper hardware to properly play the game.
  -Some topics or assignments we should have been done earlier, aka research and do before the last minute (like myself with Sequencer).
  -Because I was commuting, I unfortunately was not able to communicate in person as often as I would have liked.

Overall, what did I learn?:
  -Virtual Reality and new technologies and (relatively) new software (Unreal Engine 4).
  -More about animation for assets other than humanoids.
  -Modularity in art assets.
  -Playtest, playtest, playtest.
  -ALWAYS communicate with your teammates, both in and outside of development, so as to show you're working and so you can build your relationships with your teammates.

Lastly, would I like to continue development of this game?

Absolutely.

But I gotta be realistic; once most of the work for my classes are done, I'm immediately polishing my portfolio and sending in my Resume to various companies in the hopes of getting a job.  All of the other guys on the team are taking time off, but I need to get my stuff ready for job searching.  Once I'm out, the loans come out in full and I gotta have a means of paying the interest rates.

I'm not against continuing this work, though.  This experience was incredible and I'm happy to have worked with these lovable guys in bringing our game to life.  Even if I decide I need to leave the group as a developer, I'll still remain in contact with them as a friend, and as someone who is happy to have met them.

God speed, everyone.  If you have a dream, pursue it, and make it come true no matter what.  It will be hard, but it isn't impossible.  If it can be done, you can do it as well.


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