Capstone Post-Mortem

It’s been one hell of a semester and a whole lot of things have happened, some good, some bad. I’m here again to post my final blog-related assignment for senior capstone which is the Post-Mortem for the class as well as for my game and team at large. So, let’s take a look at some things that went right and some others that may have gone horribly wrong.

First, let’s start off with something simple, where am I now? Well, the easiest answer to that would be that I’m in my senior year of college for Video Game Design and Development at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont. However, there’s a lot that got me here, and the biggest would be my love for video games. I’ve enjoyed nothing more than playing games since I was little and that love was what lead me to decide that I wanted to create games at a very young age. It was also that love that lead me to work so hard throughout all my years as a student, and that hasn’t changed even now. I constantly strive for perfection and though that has hurt me at some points, it has absolutely helped me to get to where I am today.

Not just that, but I’m also currently the Lead Designer and even the Producer for a team of incredibly talented individuals that are all working together to make the best game that we can. In terms of getting to that point, I’d absolutely have to say that my upbringing was what helped it. I was always taught to take charge and assert myself and leadership positions have always suited me quite nicely because of that. Reading up and studying how to make games and what exactly it took to be a good game designer also took up a good part of my high school days and even a small portion of my middle school ones. Hell, even playing games non-stop all the way through high school was part of the journey of learning my craft before college for me. Sure, it all seems rather trivial when I look back at it now, but it’s a lot more than that. All of the things I did to get to where I am now, those things mean something, and the culmination of all of that effort means something as well. It means that I’, living my dreams. Despite all the hardships and the frustration that has come with being a college student and a game designer and even affecting factors outside of the education space, it’s all been more than worth it. I’ve dreamed of making video games since I was just a little kid and now that I’m actually doing it (and have been for 3.5 years), I can absolutely say that just learning my craft is everything I dreamed it would be and more.

Now that I’ve covered that part, it’s time to jump in to the more nitty-gritty stuff, namely how things went with my team and our game over this past semester.

What Went Well: Not surprisingly, a hell of a lot went quite well actually. If I’m being completely honest, there are really only a handful of things that I could even really complain about, but that’s for the next section. First off, our team dynamic was fantastic. It may have taken a week or two for all of us to get used to one another and working with each other as part of a team but once we got going nothing could stop us. We were all very friendly with one another and we never actually argued over what to do next. We settled the incredibly rare disagreements we had through mutual compromise and it always seemed to work out quite well. Not to mention the fact that everyone was able to get everything done that they needed to on time and our work ethics are nothing to shake a stick at.

What Could Have Been Better: Believe it or not, there really wasn’t that much that I can complain about. In fact, it was actually kind of hard to come up with anything for this section, but don’t worry, I found something. Due to the fact that we are developing a VR game, we needed a VIVE headset to use for testing and development. However, Stefan, one of our programmers, had his own. Still, we weren’t all able to work on stuff during work sessions because we all had to pile into Stefan’s apartment to use the VIVE. This was inefficient, so we asked to take out the school’s one remaining VIVE headset, the VIVE Pre, which nobody else used. However, due to a mix-up with the professors and QA managers, everyone thought that the school needed the Pre for QA when the only team to ever use it for QA was our team. So, it would have better had we received the VIVE Pre headset to use for our other programmer and to use for work sessions since it would have made things a lot easier and loads more efficient.

What Could I Have Done Better: There were certainly a few things that I could have done better throughout the semester. To start, I’m not a producer by trade, so I most certainly could have structured our meetings better than I did and I probably could have facilitated scrum use much better than I did as well. In terms of design, I think that I probably could have expanded on the level design aspect of the project and still kept it within a manageable scope range during the semester and I kind of wish that I had done that. However, since we get to add new levels, I get to focus on that next semester which is quite exciting.

What Would I Do Differently: If we were to do this all over again, I would probably have my team stray even more towards the comedy side of things than we are now. It would have been cool to play as the black knight and have to kill innocent people in funny ways for no reason other than not allowing them to cross the bridge. This in no way means that I’m unhappy with where we are now, it just means that there are several ways we could have taken this project and given another chance, it would be cool to see how those other ways panned out.

Sure, this was the final assignment for my capstone class, but that in no way means that I’m done posting to my blog! I’ll definitely still continue to post updates about Sword of the Sorcerer as well as posts about other things that interest me, so be sure to stay tuned even further, loyal readers. I have to thank you for sticking with me this far; it’s been a bumpy ride, but Sword of the Sorcerer will prevail!

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