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Relatively Painless Games - Week 6: Moving Forward

Two main things happened this week - A 1-on-1 meeting I had with a member of the faculty about team and individual performance and a team meeting where we as a team progressed a lot.

To start off with, the 1-on-1 meeting I had helped in a lot of ways. First of all, it helped me establish concrete goals about how I want to improve as a designer and as a team member and coordinator. The goals are as follows:

  1. Demonstrate skills in both systems and level design and environmental storytelling to expand portfolio.

  2. Improve skills in leadership, communication, and facilitation.

  3. Front load work, and keep up on the week to week requirements.

Starting off with the first goal: I learned last year through a project in Production 2 that I love to Level Design. To me, the ability to create a world and make it come to life and have that world create a memorable experience for the player sounds absolutely amazing. And actually seeing people play through the level and enjoy it was incredibly satisfying. And so, I'm really trying to work up my portfolio since I decided quite late that I want to be a level designer. I thought this project would be a great time for me to improve upon environment storytelling in my level design.

Next comes the leadership, communication, and facilitation. In this team, one of the main things I've been doing is trying to streamline the process and ensure that we narrow down on exactly what needs to get done so that we can do this all quickly and efficiently. And so, I'm trying to learn from this experience and get better at it so that if I become a lead in the future, I can continue to demonstrate leadership and good communication and facilitation in my role.

Lastly, I just want to learn to front load my work a bit more. I sometimes put off work a bit longer than I should and it's always something I want to improve on. Frontloading the work often leads to better quality of work anyways and it's good to get work done early so that teammates can see it.

I discussed all these goals with the faculty member and learned a lot about how to move forward to all these goals, and I'm looking to both demonstrate my improvements and reflect on them throughout the rest of this process.

Secondly, I talked to my teacher about streamlining this whole process and how to get through all of this quickly and efficiently. I got a few good recommendations that I've already done for the team.

And this brings me to the team meeting that honestly helped our team make a lot of progress.

During the team meeting, one of the first things I did was have everybody in the team write down everything they knew about they game thus far, and exactly how they imagined it in their head when they thought of the game. After we wrote that down, we then discussed the similarities and differences. This, first off, ensures that we are all on the same page. Then, we put them all into a document, and the designer and I are planning to update the VDD with the main player experience that we imagine for this game. I then told my team that going forward, I want to have this document at the ready when people are doing their work so that they can look at whatever they're working on and see how exactly it adds to the intended player experience. This is so that we make sure everything we add to the game has a purpose and fits into the game to make a cohesive game at the end.

Me and the other designer then decided to talk about how we were going to divide the work. At the end, we decided I would be the Level Designer and he would be the Systems Designer. This was definitely what I was hoping for and I'm very glad for the results. We did ensure, though, that we understood that we could both work on systems and levels still, but we were in charge and had the final word in our respective roles.

Lastly, we discussed environmental storytelling. It came to my attention in the 1-on-1 meeting that 3 of the team members (me included) explicitly mentioned that we want to do environmental storytelling in this game, and yet by this point we still had not decided on what that is. And so, we finally made our decision, which I will try to get to in the next blog post once we've worked a bit more on it.

All in all, although a lot of what we did this week was iron things out, I think we made a lot of good progress to continue to streamline our process going forward. I was a bit scared, but the fear is slowly slipping away and replacing itself with confidence.

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