Throughout this entire course there has been quite a lot of work and emotions that I have been through with my team, and this come both from the excitement and the fear of producing our first game: will it be good enough? will it look like what we want it to? will it be fun???
All of these questions that can’t really be answered until the final moment when the game is released which make the pressure add up during the making of the game itself. This pressure is what I think changed me and the relation we have with each other in my group.
During the 10 weeks of the course, I’ve learned quite a few things about myself, team working, and how to provide my team with what it needs. All of that has been for the best since today I feel more confident than ever in the potential that I with the rest of my team have in terms of game production: the reason for that is that we successfully managed to produce a working game!
Working in a team like this was something that I had never really done, and just as I expected, I really struggled with it at first. The reason for that is that I really like to have my own workspace with all of my items, this way I can keep on a routine while working and it makes me more efficient.
Of course when working with my team I couldn’t just stay at home, and because we would never book any room I would have to move to a different location every day in order to work. So the combination of both working with new people and in an environment that is not often optimal for it (small space, not enough room for the tablet, etc..), made me feel extremely inefficient, feeling that I think was shared among the team at first for the same reasons.
Eventually after some time working together, the team and I managed to find our own pace. Although we struggled a lot during the beginning of the course to plan correctly our workload for the week and to be present for our daily stand up meetings, we learned with time to listen more to each other’s and most importantly to understand how much we were able to produce in a week!
In fact, part of my feeling of “inefficiency” was because I was not very proficient with Photoshop (as I had just changed my minor from programming to graphics), but by working on the art of the game, doing animation, GUI, backgrounds and everything that the game needed, I slowly learned how to use it properly and working became a pleasure instead of a hassle. It took me some time but I could finally draw some clean lines and art!
So with time passing, I was no longer working with strangers and I was actually capable of working with them: this was an upgrade in terms of meeting and communication, but also workload and share. Once you get use to this environment, everything become so much easier because you can ask for help or check anything instantly with the team, which is a great boost in term of work efficiency.
We kept working this way, with some ups and downs, and eventually we managed to produced a fully playable game that actually looks a lot like what we wanted it to be! So I think that this course was a success for all of us in the team.
Our game called “Umibozu” was about a mystical sea creature of the same name that destroyed the boats of the poor souls that crossed its path. You played as a sailor that wanted to discover if it truly existed and you set sail to discover the truth, but during your journey at sea, you get attacked by the sea monsters hiding in the mist.
The aesthetic of the game was about discovery, mystery and living a journey. In order to convey them to the player, we used the mechanics of him controlling the sailor’s boat and with the help of its flashlight and harpoon, discover what is hiding through the thick mist covering the water, and shoot the creatures that might appear. There is this tension where the player could shoot any shape lurking out but it could in fact be a power up or ammunition! So every shot taken must be wisely considered because there isn’t an unlimited supply of harpoons on board.. This aspect of the game worked pretty well since most players died really quickly while testing the game for the first time, only to be better the second time when they tried to be more meticulous about their shooting.
The art style was black, white and grey, by having all of the elements on screen being low on saturation except for the GUI and other important elements.
So what is the end result? What have I learned? The finality of this course is that we managed not only to produce a game that we are proud of but also that we learned how to work together as a team and to listen to the needs of each other. I feel like the most valuable thing that I got from this course is actually learning how to work with a team and to feel what it is to share a common objective with other people and to try to our best to reach it through our common work.