Nitty Grit Games

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      Nitty Grit Games is the game studio my capstone teammates and I made to produce a survival top down game with the intention to bring it to market in two semesters. I am serving as the producer and animator on this project. For this page I will be talking about how I have been approaching production on this project.

You can find more about the project and general updates here

Pre Production

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Responsibilities

- Lead team meetings and organized layout of the project plan

- Researched different kinds of source control

- Acted as the team Scrum Master

- Kept track of meeting minutes with notes for followups in future meetings

- Established social medias for the project

-Created graphics/powerpoints like seen above to visualize what goals needed to be accomplished when

 

Summary

                For this project I have decided to take an approach of both Agile & Waterfall. The plan I made is to have a sprint consist of 2 weeks, with a pre alpha sprint block for the first semester followed by an allow sprint block for the second semester. Our goal for the end of the year is to release a playable game by the end of year. Above is a visualization of the important beats our team will need to hit. I also made sure to include an extra sprint solely dedicated to bug fix and polishing. My plans further into pre production will be setting up a preemptive task list for my team. I will also be visualizing the entire game loop our team discussed so we can hone in on specific gameplay areas we need to prioritize.

Production

Gantt Charts, like the one I made above, allowed my team to know how their tasks interesected with each other and when the hand off needed to occur

Challenges The Team Faced

Team Solutions

1.  Over scoped a bit in the beginning leading to a bit of a hectic first sprint cycle

2. Team Members being both remote and with many commitments to things outside of this project meant it was hard having team standups on a regular basis

3. Different teams work at different paces lead to some in the pipeline being unable start on their tasks while other teams were swamped in work

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1. Held a team meeting to both set up the entire timeline of the game and divide in level of priority, the system I came up with design would allow us to move incomplete tasks from previous sprints onto the next as top priority. Having a general overview of what needed to be done would allow us to cut more cursory features should we be strapped for time.

2. I developed a team culture of having alot of documentation. This would allow different team members who are not able to make it to refer to the documentation to see where the team is standing, what objectives are being worked on in the sprint and where their feedback is needed

3. Following the first sprint we had a solid understanding of our own work pace. I made prototyping tasks for all team members so that even if a feature from their field would not be going in this sprint, they would be helping the team in the next one.

Documentation like the one above and to the right, allowed different team members to see what the design team envisioned what the game to look like and how it would play out. For example as the team's animator I had animated the carrying of supplies by the ant a certain way until I saw the concept art of how the environment artist envisioned the ant moving. This allowed me to redo the animation early enough into the sprint to capture what the environment artist wanted to see without finding out his intention during the midsprint standup.

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Summary

           As the team has started into the first sprint of production, I have been in charge of visualling and organizing all the tasks for each team member. I have been creating weekly burndown charts for each sprint based on the team's task spreadsheet and what levels of the game the team is prioritizing. During team meetings, I have been following up with team members on tasks assigned to them at the beginning of the sprint to see if they can meet our predetermined goals. When a teammate is unable to finish a task we as a team try to come to a consensus on the bare minimum of that task we need to have done for the sprint. I will then move a more advanced version of that task down the pipeline into the following sprints. I have also been testing my own pacing of tasks on the animation side. So far the tasks I have assigned to myself have pushed me a bit but not too much, with enough alotted time to finish my required animations on schedule. 

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Visual assets for Nitty Grit Games are made by Joey Belt