Reflective Summary: Week One

From 30th January to 3rd of February.

So after quite a leisurely week off we returned to the Studio on Tuesday to discuss our game with Dr. James, unfortunately Millie was ill so myself and Jess spoke about our game to try and nail down a development process so we weren’t left floundering as to where to begin the project.

I won’t deny, my motivation is yet to return after quite a brutal first semester, and I’m feeling rather anxious about starting up again. I believe it has been the same for Jess and Millie, so I believe we’re going to take the rest of the week quite slowly so people have a chance to recover in time to power ahead with the development.

Anyway, the meeting with James was rather successful; we had discussed at the end of last semester that the scope of the game was way too large. Whilst we want to be ambitious, there was little chance that we’d create a professional level prototype in time for the deadline. Instead, Dr. James helped us out by asking us questions about the relevance of certain areas and design decisions for the game. It was really useful as I think we’d become so immersed in the idea that we’d started to add in features that really weren’t, necessary, or failed to provide anything further in terms of game-play. I, however, was initially apprehensive about cutting features; I realise now that this was because we had been working on this idea for weeks on end. It is important to recognise when you need to sacrifice parts of an idea to both, save on development time and, realise that implementing these ideas could cause the quality of the game to suffer.

The results of this meeting left us with the transition from a 3D game environment to that of a 2D environment, the simplification of Dungeoneering, and the removal of the Barter System. I’m pleased with these changes mostly because it means I can focus on Coding as my Job Role. I was worried beforehand about having to produce an entire 3D world as I have decided that 3D modelling is no longer my chosen career path, and I find more enjoyment in programming, this as a result has caused my modelling to suffer and I feel that if I had to produce assets in 3D, they would not be of the quality the game deserved. This now means however that the art style of the game rests heavily on both Jess and Millie’s shoulders. I am going to be developing my coding skills by keeping an open line of communication to Dr. James, and undertaking some online courses to learn new skills in the gaps between development phases.

We decided that we would begin work officially on Monday (6th of February). This gives people a little more time to recharge and to start thinking about what we need to discuss during the meeting.

On Friday we had a Branding Workshop with Derek Yates. This was actually a lot more enjoyable than I thought it would be, you can find the blog post regarding the workshop here. I’ve always had an interest in Marketing but have found the idea of Branding rather stale, however, during the workshop we looked at several videos on MovingBrands.com. These inspired me massively as the ‘DeviantArt Rebrand’ showed truly how much work goes into redefining a companies visual identity, it also made me realise how important a visual identity and its components are for promoting a game. Derek gave some really good advice that the visual identity should both feed into the product, and be born from it. The exercise we undertook (can be seen in the blog post) was invaluable for getting us started and hopefully in the coming weeks we can build that toolkit.

We are going to put Millie to work on defining Typeface, Iconography, Colour Scheme and Layout for use in both our publication and the website for our game. This is because she has expressed interest in working more within Graphic Design in the future and would be an excellent portfolio piece.  Jess is going to be looking at promotion and marketing further as we definitely need to start building a buzz around our development process. I will be researching Steam Greenlight as this is an end goal for the game we produce this Semester, the results of which will be posted in the coming week.

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