Some people might say that the title of this blog post seems rather unprofessional and to be honest, I’d be inclined to agree with them. However, I feel as though this is a decent outlet for venting when it comes to capstone and senior game stuff. So buckle up, fair readers, cause it’s gonna be a wild ride…..or maybe not, I don’t know. Please don’t leave.
Anyways, let’s take a quick look back. For those that have read my older posts regarding capstone game development, you’ll know that last semester was very strictly structured. There were set phases that needed to be challenged to get through and specific checklists showing what was needed to challenge each phase. Hell, teams could only even present at the Winter Showcase in November if they made it through at least the Deep Dive phase. While the structure was rigorous and the threat of being cut was rather daunting, that structure helped us as teams, giving us a goal to work towards right from the start. Enough with the flashbacks, though, let’s talk about the current semester.
As I am on one of the two VR teams to make it through cuts, my team and I were placed in the same production section as the other VR team and assigned a new teacher, one Benjamin Throop. He created a game for the PlayStation VR called Headmaster, which made him the perfect candidate for teaching the two VR teams. However, this semester, the class didn’t have the same kind of set structure as the previous class. Instead, we were more or less just set loose with our new teams and expected to work, which we did. Now don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t that bad. At first, we were a little skeptical of it but after a few weeks, we had settled into creating our own goals and our own sprints. We got into our groove. Things were great for 7 weeks until, in the middle of week 7, we were suddenly given deadlines that we were now required to meet, some of which were quite close already. If you don’t see why this is a problem, then perhaps you should apply to be one of the higher ups here at Champlain. I love the Game Studio and most of the professors that are a part of it; I’ve learned nearly all I know from them. However, it still doesn’t change the fact that waiting until WEEK 7 of the semester, which is basically right before midterms, to slap us with deadlines which should have been assigned on DAY 1 OF THE SEMESTER.
As a team, we had already decided to cut more than a few of the originally planned elements, including all planned additional levels. This, though…….this threw a wrench in our plans and put us in a place where we were forced to cut even more than was originally necessary. Sure, you could say that this kind of thing is bound to happen in real studios where we’re being paid and I’d agree with you. However, while the workload is intended to mimic real-world game development (something that the school succeeds at), it’s also meant to be more structured. If our team dynamic wasn’t so great and we hadn’t already been a bit ahead of schedule, I’d say that this curveball would have put us behind schedule instead of just a bit backset and forcing the cutting of additional features. Plus, we are now required to have an idle state for the senior show, where a video automatically plays when the game is inactive for a certain amount of time. This is another point of frustration seeing that as a VR game we CANNOT DO THAT. We’ve explained that to the professors in a few different ways and while I understand their offered suggestions are attempts to help, they just need to get it through their heads that an idle state cannot happen (at least, not in any way that we’re aware of) in VR. Hell, we’ve already decided as a team that we’re not even going to attempt to do an idle state at all. We honestly don’t actually need one to entice players and there’s no reason why the school wouldn’t let us present our game just because we were INCAPABLE (not unwilling) to implement an idle state.
Phew………I have to take a breath here. That was a lot, I know. It isn’t the overall longest blog post that I have ever written, but I felt like any readers that I may have should know what’s going on and I just wanted to rant about how inexplicably stupid this whole situation is. Anyways, if you stuck around till the end of this one, then thanks for reading! Please stay tuned for even more updates on our game, Sword of the Sorcerer! I’ve also got a bit of a blog-series planned that doesn’t have to do with school but that I think will be enjoyable. Keep an eye out for it!