Reflection of Week Twelve

Week beginning 17th – 23rd April

Monday

Today, I organised the next sprint for our project. We all did really well last week and managed to get all of our tasks completed in the time frame which was excellent. Millie managed to take some tasks off of the backburner too so this has reduced the number of tasks we’ll be needing to catch up on. The teamwork that everyone’s displaying is brilliant and is really helping to push the project along. 
James has agreed this week to work on changing the harvesting mini-game code and getting that completed before starting to work on the crafting mini-game code. He’s been working hard on fixing coding issues within the project which he will be showing use next week when we’re all together. 
Millie went above and beyond last week with managing to get all the helping hands finished and then moving onto the inside of the greenhouse. As previously mentioned, she’s asked me to put in the ‘accessories’ such as the tools, books and pots just to give it more of a greenhouse feel as she wanted to move onto the crafting mini-game. This week, she’s working on the UI and sprite design and paint to really get this section of the game on the way. 
I will be working on painting the four stages of harvesting animations for each ingredient and hope to have this finished by the end of the week leaving me with some time to complete the tasks for the inside of the Greenhouse. I’d really like to push myself this week and get the greenhouse finished as it will mean that farming is fully complete. 
This week is going to be full for all three of us so we have decided to get together this weekend (22nd – 23rd) at Millie’s where we will have a weekend of ‘crunch time’ in a way so that we can all catch up on where we’re at, work alongside each other so we can figure out what’s still needed for the project and try and fully get back into working on Twilleir before we’re back on the 24th. 

Tuesday

Today, we all discussed what we wanted to do for the Mind the Film footage we have to get together on top of everything else. As we decided we wanted to sell ourselves and who we are as creatives, we’ve been thinking about creating a comedic piece in the style of The Office as this sums up who we are, how we act in the workplace etc. We’re more concerned with getting the project completed than we are getting the footage together for this side project, however, we are having to dedicate some time next week to getting some footage together so that we have at least got somewhere to start from.

Below is an example: They do a lot of staring off into the camera and have ‘interviews’ during the sketch which we thought could work quite well. Enjoy.

Wednesday – Friday

I attacked the animations today, something that I’ve been dreading doing all week… I’ve managed to make a large dent in the workload by so far (Friday afternoon) completing 20 out of 36 so just over half way I guess. I’m impressed with how much I’ve been able to power through so far, considering I don’t have the best attention span. I want to try and get at least one or two more finished this evening (Friday) so it leaves me with two or three to do over the weekend plus finishing the Greenhouse environment over at Millie’s. I’m confident that I’ll be able to get through these tasks which is exciting as well as relieving as then I can finally work on something else! I’ve been working so much on environments and assets that I’m starting to lose some of my motivation so I feel that I’m going to break this up by working on NPC designs as well as the Decor shopkeeper as well as doing environments as this should help my motivation if I try something different. I’ll be looking to use Millie’s Twitch stream videos in order to mimic her art style so that the characters wouldn’t look too different and keep some consistency.

Below are the five animations I’ve completed so far. For the Alpha, we’ll be breaking these up with animating orbs covering the image and then moving to the next. When we decide to take this forward past Alpha, I’ll be wanting to adjust these.
Listed in order: Bay leaves, Ginseng, Lavender, Peppermint and Pine.

The Weekend

This weekend, Millie and I did a two-day crunch where we smashed out all of our tasks for the Sprint and began working on extra; James arrived on Sunday and showed us where he’s up to.
Millie has effectively finished the Crafting mini-game aside from the particle effect animations which will be worked on once James has finished the code for the mini-game. She’s now been working on painting the Shop environment background to get that underway and complete. Millie’s worked really hard this weekend and it’s meant that we’ve managed to push ahead with some of the leftover tasks which have helped the productiveness of the project. With this continued work ethic, I believe that we’ll be able to get Dungeoneering well on the way within the next week meaning that we’ll be in a better stead to playtest and correct any errors as well as continue with finessing our current work and working towards our promo trailer/artwork.
I’ve managed to complete all of the harvesting animations and I’ve turned them into Gifs! Now they’re finished, I’ve been working on producing the rest of the assets for the inside of the Greenhouse background. Once finished, this will be the Garden/Greenhouse fully complete!
Millie and I have been going through the tasks on Trello and have worked out that due to the alterations made to the Crafting mini-game, the number of tasks needed to be completed has significantly reduced as some assets aren’t needed anymore. This is great news and has left us with more time for Dungeoneering and finishing off the other levels. What’s left to do is for James to put all of our assets into the project and make a list of UI or any pieces he needs so that we can get on with that alongside the Sprint tasks.

WE’RE GETTING THERE GUYS. 

Here are all the finished animations. I’ve made these just to show how it would work so the timings are a more off than I’d like them to be. These four frames would be separated by some sort of glowy orb animation which will be added in later once it’s been playtested. 

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Reflection of Week Eleven

Week beginning 10th April – 16th April

Monday

Today, I spent some time discussing with James and Millie the tasks that we have left for Twilleir as well as outlining Sprint 10.

I went back through the last few sprints and found that Millie has been working on the four portraits for the helping hands for four weeks now, however, only two have been completed and one is in progress. I have now instructed Millie that she will be pulled off of these tasks and to get on to the crafting mini-game as we can’t be spending all this time on portraits; neither of us had realised how much time had been allocated to this job so it’s just as much my fault as it is Millie’s.

We came to an arrangement where she has assured me that she has two days off in a row now where she will be finishing the helping hand portraits, Clarence and Nigel. After these tasks have been completed, she will be moving on to painting the inside of the Greenhouse environment so that James can then drop this into the project and then the Garden and Greenhouse levels are completed; I’ll be checking in with her over the week to see how she’s progressing to help her stay on track and “kick her up the ass” as instructed by Millie haha… By the beginning of next week, Millie will hopefully be on to the Crafting mini-game.

I’d been working on the Harvesting mini-game last week where I developed the game and changed a couple of aspects by accident. For instance, the original idea was to have the plants rotate when a colour sequence has been completed, however, this was quite complex and I had an idea which would cause us less stress but would still be similar aesthetically. Unfortunately, by doing this, it’s meaning that James is needing to change elements of his code to accommodate this yet he seems more than happy to do this which is great and he’ll be spending the week doing this; this is one of the things I love most about our Team is the willingness and flexibility of everyone which makes life easier ❤
We’ve set up that next weekend (22nd-23rd) we shall all get together at Millie’s and binge work together, catch each other up and test what’s already in. By doing this, we shall be in a good place to start back on the 24th.

I’ve set myself a lot of tasks this week as I’m not sure how long the design for the four stages of harvesting of each nine ingredients is going to take. By putting them all in one Sprint, it means I can crack on with what I can and gauge how long it will take me overall. I aim to have the design for all of these completed by mid next week and then the painting binge will begin! By the time that we’re back at University on the 24th, I hope that I will have completed the painting of the animation stages meaning that James can drop these into the project.

Realistically, by the end of the first week back, I think the Harvesting mini-game could be completed and the crafting mini-game nearly finished which will leave us the crafting room design itself which has already been started, dungeoneering, characters and UI/animations. This feels like a lot to do in terms of artwork, however, the code is essentially nearly there so it’ll just be dropping stuff in. I’ve already prepared James that he may need to take over from UI and animation which he’s mentioned he’s happy to do so that’s a large relief. With Millie and myself working on Art, we should be able to smash through tasks and use some of what we’re doing in the promotion trailer so it’s useful that a lot of our work can be reused and save us time. 

Tuesday

So today, I worked solidly for four hours straight and managed to get the Harvesting mini-game background painted! Glad I binged that and that it’s now done as it means that I can focus on the animations for the plants so I’m on schedule. My original artwork was a bit too dark in comparison with the work that Millie’s been doing for the environments and such so on her Twitch stream, she showed me how to fix this through the colour dodge tool and hue/saturation. This was super useful and it’s improved my work a lot so this is something I must remember to do after I complete paintings.

The first image is the one that I finished and the second is the one that Millie helped me with. She explained that by using colour dodge on the image and playing around with the hue and saturation will help me to make sure the colouring is bright like Millie’s work. This mini tutorial has helped me understand new skills within digital painting so I’m very thankful for Millie’s help!
Now what I have left to do is plan out the four stages of animation for the nine plants which hopefully shouldn’t take me too long to do but I expect that this will be complete by next Thursday latest giving me the rest of the week to paint them.

Whilst working on the background today, I had Millie’s Twitch stream on in the background where she managed to rally through Clarence and Nigel’s portraits and is now onto doing the inside of the Greenhouse! She’s worked so hard today and it’s great to see her progress, her outcomes are beautiful and it’s so exciting to see them come to life and to soon be in the project. She has managed to get through all of her tasks already for this Sprint apart from the Greenhouse which is amazing and so hopefully we’ll all be back on track with tasks and get stuff completed at a faster pace! Great job Mills ❤

Thursday

I had a brief chat with Millie today concerning the NPC characters that we’d like to have designed. Millie came up with a great idea that the three leftover NPC shop keepers we need in order to set up the ‘expansion pack’ type elements for after the Alpha will be designed based on the three of the Twilleir team and that the merchant should be the lovely lady that we met on our trip to Lyndhurst in the Apothecary shop. This will help us move forward with the designs as we have the four races to use to transform ourselves into the people of Ephara! 
I’ve been working a lot on the environment design and asset creation more than characters but I spoke with Millie about how I’d like to take a break from this and try creating characters for the game as hopefully, it will help production pace by switching up tasks and keeping things interesting. I will be working on the Decor shop keeper which we have decided will be James (sorry bro) and will be as flamboyant as anything. I plan to work on this once I have created the animations for the ingredients in Harvesting so as to split up tasks and stay motivated. 

We also discussed the bios of the helping hands that Millie’s been working on so that I can upload these to Instagram which is exciting:

  • Nigel (Heralorn race) – he’s old and cranky and is more likely to stab you than let you look at his books, like, ever.
  • Doris (L’hallen race) – She will hit you, also she’s very good at baking and likes to spoil her niece on the weekends. 
  • Clarence (Qa’rn) – The wind boy, he is smol and fast. He likes baths and would spend £200 in Lush in a heartbeat.

With this in mind, we may have to update Donna’s portrait and bio as they no longer fit the style in which Millie has done the other three helping hands (this will be a fix thing at a later date). Millie had a great idea that her bio should be: Master of the Barbie *Australian accent* Has multiple stab wounds from Nigel, she likes to show them off. 

The idea of the bios is something light hearted and fun with just a little bit of backstory so maybe we could develop their narratives after the Alpha and make it more personal. It’s also just a little bit of that Twilleir added fun that we wanted to include too.

Friday and the Weekend

Today I properly started designing the animations for the four stages of Harvesting in the mini-game. It hasn’t taken me too long to work on them, averaging at about half hour to forty-five minutes per ingredient, it’s just been hard trying to think of cute animations that people would want to see and wouldn’t look out of place. This will all come with testing when we arrive back from Easter where we can gauge from our target audience what they like and don’t like, what makes sense and what doesn’t etc. 

Next week is going to be intense as I’m going to be aiming to finish the harvesting ingredients by painting the four stages of each one (9 in total) and overall there are 36 pieces. This could be quite a lot of work to complete and may be time-consuming but once this is finished then it means that harvesting will be complete (all but some animation transitions! 

Millie has also spoken to me about the inside of the greenhouse background that she’s painting. She has asked me to finish the piece with bits and pieces such as spades, pots etc just to set the scene so that she can go on to work on the Crafting mini-game. I’ll be likely to work on this gradually through the week but will be prioritising the harvesting animations as these were my original tasks. These next few weeks are going to be pretty intense but I’m confident that we’ll be able to get our work complete and on time. 

Reflection of Week Ten

Week beginning 3rd April – 9th April

Monday

Today has been an odd day as I’ve had to work around my job today. Due to working an early shift, I only began working on the Sprint at 7pm but this worked very well for the team as we all convened on Twitch where Millie was streaming her art progression of the Helping Hand characters. We used this time as a team meeting which was really useful as we managed to physically see what Millie’s been working on as well as discuss the Trello which we could all see on screen and go through together.
Millie hasn’t managed to finish the character portraits from last week, however, on the Stream, she understands that she’s a bit behind on these tasks and after discussing with the team, she feels that through streaming on Twitch it will help her to work on the tasks at hand; she’ll be looking to do this from now on. This is also useful for me as I can use these streams to work out a consistent way of painting that’s similar to Millie so I can help her out with painting characters and backgrounds in the game.
This week James is continuing on with refining his code and the whole project to fix any bugs in Twilleir so far. When we’re back at Uni, we will be looking to test the project so far with our target audience and get them to try and find bugs/break the game as this will help us to make sure that Twilleir is in a great condition and near perfect!
I’ll be looking to work on Harvesting this week so as to get that up and running as a mini-game so that we can also try and get this tested in the next three weeks. I will be working alongside James to see what he needs from me in terms of UI as well as designed backgrounds and how these will work. This week is likely to be more challenging for me as I want to make Harvesting fit the style of the game so far and make sure it looks and feels ‘Twilleir’. As I’m limited to two days that I can work on jobs this week, I’ve set tasks accordingly and if I manage to do more then I’ll crack on with those too.
I’ve been finding that by setting myself tasks broken down into its simplest form and only a handful a week has helped me to be productive as I’m not grouping tasks together so that they feel so large. By breaking them up, I’m managing to tick tasks off of Trello more quickly and is improving my motivation as well as enabling me to work on extra tasks thus improving the production rate of Twilleir just that little bit; I’ll be continuing to set a minimum of 4 tasks a week and then moving on from there. 

Tuesday

I began working on creating the colour icons that we’ll be needing for the UI bar that the player interacts with in order to harvest the ingredient. I felt that they needed to not be ‘in your face’ like say different coloured trowels or shovels and instead just have that fantastical Twilleir feel to it.
I played around with the idea of gems, crystals and orbs and how they could work within the UI. The icons need to be relatively simple and not distracting to the Player as they’ll need to focus during the game in order to get more points. After some sketches, I felt that the coloured orbs would work the best taking into account the simplicity needed as well as that added fantasy feel.
You can find the initial sketches in A3 Sketchbook pages 35 – 36.

The above orbs are some of the colours that I was playing around with. I found that by using a darker background, the luminosity of the orbs really came through and so I feel that this will influence the colours of the UI bar. As the background is to be light and earthy greens, I may choose to have the UI bar or at least the main part of it behind the orbs a dark reddy or earthy brown so as to accentuate the orbs and making it easier for the Player to see.

I’ve been thinking about how we could make this game more accessible for those who are colour blind and one idea that came to mind is that maybe we have sounds associated with each colour so that Twilleir can be playable for all. This may have to be something that we add in later on as we already have much to do but this is something to bear in mind for sure as our aim is to make Twilleir a game for all 🙂

Saturday

Over the past few days, I haven’t been able to complete any more tasks, however today I had a meeting with James about what he was looking for in terms of the Harvesting mini-game aesthetics and UI. Whilst discussing, we were unsure what we needed a mini menu design for and so, for now, this has been struck from my Sprint tasks and has made way for me to start designing the background for the mini-game; we will revisit this later on once James has gone back through the project and has worked out what art he’s still in need of. 

My new tasks for this week now consist of:

  • UI colour button bar design
  • UI colour button bar paint
  • Beginning of designing background

These tasks are definitely doable and I’m excited to crack on with these today. James also mentioned that there were a couple of buttons that he needed which once he has compiled his list, he’ll be letting me know where I’ll be able to easily change the text so he can swiftly drop them into the project. I feel that this way of working with James is working out well so far as we’re able to complete tasks on the fly as well as our original Sprint tasks; this relieves the workload later on when it’s crunch time!

We also discussed that the panels that I designed and painted for the active quests, greenhouse plots and garden plots could be reusable within the Harvesting mini-game. Potentially with changing the colours, the panel could fit well in this instance. I’m still going to be playing around with potential decoration to the panel however, the key instance here is for the panel to not be distracting to the Player and hinder their gameplay. 

By the end of today, I hope to have mocked up a couple of rough designs for the mini-game background as then I’ll be able to get feedback from the team and make adjustments before Monday where I can fully crack on with painting it. I’m a little concerned with painting it as my skills aren’t at Millie’s level so I’ll have a hard time trying to replicate her style in the short amount of time I’d like to spend on it but I’m certainly up for the challenge. My aim is to have completed the background by Tuesday evening of next week so then I will have the rest of the week to work on ingredients which I’ll have to paint in fully grown form and from four angles (front, left side, back and right side) due to the rotating mechanic of the plot in the game. This shouldn’t take much time as I have already worked on the ingredients and so hopefully with some tweaking and painting I’ll be able to complete these by the end of that Sprint (10). 

Sunday

Since yesterday, I had a thought about how the mini-game would work aesthetically. As we’ve decided to keep the background static, the plants shouldn’t rotate as it wouldn’t fit?? Therefore, I did some thinking and worked out that what could work is if we have four stages of harvesting instead. I.e. when you finish one side of colour, a sparkly animation will go over the plant and it will turn into the next stage of harvest – it could be that part of the roots have uprooted, some hops have fallen off of the vines etc; this will be something that I’ll need to decide when I come to this as for now I’m focusing on the background.

In light of this design decision, I managed to sketch a couple of ideas that could work for the Harvesting mini-game background. We’ve chosen to have a vignette around the plot with some small sparkling orb-like animations around it so as to avoid distracting the Player with a busy background; I’ll be playing around with what colour the vignette will be. I will be getting feedback from the team tomorrow where I’ll make adjustments to the background and then begin painting. I aim to have it completed with examples of the vignette by Tuesday afternoon so I can then begin to work on the ‘animation’ process for the ingredients as they are harvested. If I maintain a steady work ethic this next coming week, I feel that Harvesting will be near completion within the next two weeks maximum. 

Despite working 45 hours this week at my other job, I feel that this week has been surprisingly productive considering. I have made sure that over the next two weeks I am working a lot less at my job meaning that I can truly focus on the Twilleir project. However, by doing these hours, this has made me realise that I can work a full time job and continue to work on work for our company on evenings and weekends which fills me with hope and focus that we’ll be able to achieve our goals of setting up a studio! #exciting 

Bring on tomorrow and the new Sprint! B-)

 

Its been a long month!

So, I’ve done the horrific thing of leaving it a whole month since I last made a blog post. I mean there’s quite a lot to recap on so I think I’m going to write a list of all of the proceedings that have occurred since the last reflection post, and gradually make my way down the list. It’s currently Easter at the moment so we’re kinda chugging on quite nicely, just getting on independently and trying to make sure that we don’t fall behind on Jess’ sprint deadlines.

As you can see from the video update on the 6th of March, which should be in the post above (below????) this one. There is going to be quite a lot of development since then and I’ll probably make a video very soon documenting EVERYTHING that has happened since then as this text post probably won’t do it justice.

 

Right, since my disappearance this is whats been going on, it’s not in chronological order because I couldn’t tell you for the life of me what happened when:

  • Arduino Workshop with Andy and the Team (Custom Controller). This led us to decide that we’d quite like to create a custom controller for the player to more easily engage with the game. This is because all of our minigames only require four buttons to play with, therefore it would make sense to utilize this feature and create a cool custom controller for either Winchester or London Exhibitions.
  • Mind the Film came in. This started us on the road to collecting footage for the process video, the Mind the Film crew will be coming in regularly to record us and perform interviews that will feature in the final film. I’m excited to see the finished piece but it has been a little bit of a hassle trying to grab all of the footage that we’d like to use.
  • Reflective Journal was finished and handed in, we had about a week to do this. It was much like last year where this kinda got crammed in, in the last few weeks before the deadline. This wasn’t actually due to poor time management I promise, but more that the Reflective Journal impedes the development of the game and therefore we decided to take a couple weeks off to make sure our Reflective Journals were the only thing we were working on at the time.
  • Harvesting is in, assets yet to be added but core gameplay is enjoyable and we’re confident with continuing with this as a prototype. Once we’d playtested the game however, Jess suggested that we make a change to the game as it wasn’t as enjoyable as we had hoped. Instead she suggested we change it more to a reactionary “Guitar Hero” type minigame which, although I was hesitant about redesigning and programming the game, I agreed with as it would make the game a more enjoyable experience.
  • Gardens are almost finished, Greenhouse and small animations to add. This came about as Millie had finished off the Gardens background and Jess had started to collate all of the seeds icons I required for the gameplay. The game is really starting to come together in some areas and does wonders for morale.
  • Crafting first prototype was finished, decided it didn’t fit thematically and a redesign has been proposed but yet to implement. This is because it was based around just matching up some colours to those written in the crafting book, whilst it seemed good in theory, in practice it just resulted in people waiting for ages. The proposed redesign fits with our Harvesting redesign along the theme of match three and reactionary gameplay and therefore once it’s built I will update with the playtesting feedback.
  • Shop added, Commission card generation is in but not hooked up to our living economy yet. Huge bits of UI put in, days and gold generation work. Inventory panel, plant monitoring panel.
  • Dungeons received UI updates and several helping hands have been added visually.
  • Marketplace has been added, you’re now able to visit and purchase Potions required to succeed in the Dungeons, and buy Seeds (VERY IMPORTANT). Flavour Text is yet to go in, need to check if race applies correct benefits and that prices adjust based on demand.
  • Essentially we’re just in the huge art cramming phase whilst I iron out bugs and add in additional functionality.
  • Tutorials are mostly in and work well in explaining to players what they need to be doing.
  • Play testing will be a necessary evil as soon as we return to make sure the game is playable.
  • Easter has been a little bit lighter than I would have liked but with two weeks to go I’m in a position, as we receive more assets, to see what needs work and what works well.
  • Jess and Millie are doing a fantastic job of smashing through the list of artwork and getting me UI assets as soon as feasible. Jess is doing a great job staying on top of the deadlines and making sure we don’t fall behind.

Reflection of Week Nine

Week beginning 27th – 2nd April

Monday

Sprint 7 went pretty well for me as I managed to stay on top of my tasks, finish them and then move onto starting next week’s tasks so I’m hoping to continue with this work ethic through this week too. 
I’ve been sorting through the Trello tasks to double-check with the team what they’ve been working on, what they’ve completed and what they haven’t been able to complete so that I can construct the next Sprint, number 8. James and I were able to finish the tasks set however Millie wasn’t able to finish the portraits due to not being able to access her PC over the past few days which is fair enough; she has agreed to finish them this week instead so as to stop the backburner tasks growing.
James has chosen to go through all of the code he has been working on over the past seven weeks and go through a refinement and debugging process to double-check that everything functions properly. This will be incredibly useful as it means that we will have the Gardens and Greenhouse fully refined as well as elements such as the storeroom inventory, the shop etc where we can drop artwork into it and it will further us in our testing stages.
I will be working on painting the images of potions that will be put onto the commission cards as once these are done, it’ll just be the text files that will need to be created for this and then the commission cards are completed. I aim to have these nine potions finished by the end of Sprint 8 and have also begun designing the panels for the active quests and the active garden plots menu. I feel that if I keep focused, I’ll be able to have finished the majority of the shop environment by the end of next week which will be great as then I can work on trying to complete the Harvesting mini-game aesthetics; this will lead to us being able to test this mini-game with our target audience gaining feedback and testing for bugs which we can then implement. 

Tuesday – Wednesday

Above are the potions that I’ve been working on which will be going on to the commission cards at the bottom to show the player what potion it is they have to make; it will tell them in the request box also but the text files have yet to be made up. I’ve suggested that as all three of us have different styles in writing, it would be a good idea to work on the text files together as it will give the commission cards some variation in tone and style to reflect the different customers you would get in. What with myself and Millie working in customer service, this gives us an upper hand on some of the sorts of customers we could have in terms of tone and character!
But yeah… s
o I’ve already finished the potions tasks that I set myself for the whole week??!
My time management has been a bit off this week and I’ve overestimated how long it was all going to take me but I guess on the upside, I can now do the panels for the Shop environment and get those completed quicker than I first thought.
My next steps are to ask James what bits and pieces he’s waiting on to drop into the Shop environment so as to help complete the level more quickly and get it ready for testing.

Saturday- Sunday

I decided to take some time off to help recharge my creative batteries so I picked up my extra tasks through Saturday to Sunday. I feel better in that I’m finishing tasks and am taking up bits and pieces when needed which is helping my productivity as I’m wanting to push myself more and get things done.
I managed to design a range of active quest panels so that I had a variety of choice to see which ones would fit the Shop environment. Now that we’ve chosen the panel style, this could be a ‘skin’ style for each panel that’s needed so that we save time and reuse assets; this will leave more time for other tasks so we’ll be pushing forward at a quicker pace which is exciting. 

Due to the fact that the Shop environment will look rather busy on screen, we felt that the above design would be the best for the panel’s style as the simplicity will hopefully not overcomplicate the screen when the Player presses the appropriate button to open each designated panel. James will be dropping these into his project and so to combat what he may need, I’ve made a variety of panels with text and without etc so that he can work out what works best for his code and go from there.
Now that I’ve completed these, I’ve again managed to complete all my tasks for the week which’s great as I’m starting to realise how much time I need for certain tasks and feel I can structure my personal Sprint tasks accordingly.
Overall, this week has been rather productive and I’m proud of how quickly I am managing to get through tasks. We’re very close to finishing the Shop level in terms of design meaning that there is only:

  • painting the shop
  • painting the storeroom
  • creating text files for the commission cards

Millie has mostly been painting the environments but as she has a lot on her plate, at some point I may come back to these and help her. I feel that so long as we get the majority designed which means we can at least show what it could look like, we can then worry about painting the specifics later. I will continue on with designing and possibly when we are nearing the end of Easter, I will check with Millie to see if she wants me to help (if I can) so as to relieve her of stress as she’s been working hard on a number of things currently such as music, portraits and our website which is soon to be up!

Due to working a lot next week, I will need to factor in time around my job to get tasks for Sprint 9 done so I will need to keep this in mind tomorrow when I construct the next sprint. I will be talking to James and Millie to see how they’re doing with their tasks and adapting Sprints accordingly. 

Reflection of Week Eight

Week beginning 20th – 26th March

Monday

Today, I began by organising the next Sprint. As expected, due to Reflective Journal’s deadline being today, last week’s sprint wasn’t fully completed, however, I’ve adjusted this week’s sprint accordingly. By looking at the remaining tasks that we have to do, I feel that we’re in a good place now and we should be able to finish all the ‘levels’ that we wanted to complete for hand-in. I’m really enjoying working on this project and I feel that’s helped us stay motivated to complete this project to the best of our abilities; we’ll see how we feel after Easter…
I started designing the store room using the shop environment and the research that I did on Art Nouveau and Deco as inspiration in order for everything to fit the same aesthetic. The store room will just be the background/backdrop as we’ll have UI panels over this so it won’t need as much detail as the Shop. I managed to catch up on some important documentation in my sketchbook as well as complete two full layouts for the store room which I’ll be looking to get feedback from the rest of the team tomorrow. That will decide if we stick with one or if I adapt and create a final one accordingly. 
Overall, I’m happy with the progress that I made today and it has set me up well to be on target for the rest of the tasks left in the sprint. 

Tuesday

Firstly, I got some feedback from the team about which store room layout would work best for the background/drop.


The first one was agreed as too busy and cluttered and the second layout was deemed the preferred one as it wouldn’t overcrowd the screen and confuse the player. We will be having a panel with the UI pop up over the background so the detail in the store room isn’t as much as a necessity as the Shop environment was. Now that this is complete and the team are all happy with the environment’s design, it’ll now be queued up in the painting list of things to do.
I discussed with the team about the finish button and it really is as simple as a finish button for handing in quests. I’ve been playing around today with the font that we’re using, Quicksand Book, and using these over buttons I’ve designed to see how they could work and if it fits our other UI scheme; I’ve tried to design them with this in mind.
With James working on the economy and inventory systems today, we discussed what currency we would be using. After much debate, we have decided we shall call our currency Twills, as it is very fitting with our name Twilleir and it sounds good
“That was awful, 2 twills.”
“Oh wow, amazing job, 26 twills for you!”

Another task that we discussed was the commission cards as I wanted to make sure that I knew what needs to be on the card itself and that it corresponds with the coding that James has already worked on.

  • New Commission title
  • Image of potion
  • Request: what the customer is asking for
  • Due by date: when does the potion need to be completed by
  • Signature of customer – makes it more personal

I began designing a few card shapes to see what would work and look right aesthetically. We discussed what ones people preferred and there was a split between two different types of design which were the favourites so I have decided to combine the two in order to create a better design. Now that I’ve completed the design, I will be taking it to Paintool Sai and then James will implement it into the game where we can see if it fits with the overall aesthetic.
Overall, today has been very productive and I feel that I am certainly on track with the tasks I’ve got for the Sprint; hopefully, I may be able to pick up more tasks from the Shop environment list. 

Thursday

We had Mind The Film in today to talk about putting our game projects into a film. It was relatively interesting and useful to talk to them as now we understand the sort of feel that we want our film to get across. We’re looking to sell ourselves through our personalities which will filter through to the film where we will look to have clips of ourselves at work, working together and our process. We’re also looking to film more of our cosplay to give a feel of who we are and what Twilleir is about which we’ll be looking to film more of when we come to acting out the battle system for our animations.
Creating animation could also be a good idea to intertwine with our film as it could be quirky and cute like us and Twilleir which could be a good idea to consider.
Freesound.org – good place to find and use sounds within our project as we didn’t manage to get much from the Caves due to screaming kids and the people that were there.
Over Easter, I will be looking to film more of my drawing process and my speed paints in order to gather as much footage as possible which we can filter through later on; we’ll all be doing this in order to get a range for our development video.

Equipment to use:
Nikon D800
Set of 3 LED panels

Arduino Workshop – iLab with Andy

Today’s workshop using Arduino’s was interesting and challenging for me. I hadn’t done anything to do with circuits in years since Secondary School so it was pretty scary trying to remember previous knowledge from … 6 years ago.
Despite the initial scare, I managed to pick it up again relatively quickly and was able to make a LED light blink, dim and enlighten. It was interesting as when we used the sensor and it beeped whenever you moved your hand or light near it, I realised what we’d effectively made was one of the sensors you get in newer cars nowadays which tells you when you’re too close to other objects; I found this really cool in a nerdy way.
This workshop made us think about how we could use Arduinos within our project, mainly with our exhibition in mind. We have a crafting game and harvesting game that incorporates colours into it and we’ve been thinking that at the exhibition, we could make the game physical using LED lights and Arduinos. Andy seemed to like what we are thinking of doing and has said he’d like to work with us on it which is exciting. This will help to hopefully make our game stand out at the exhibition as well as give it an edge over the competition as it will be physical and digital too.

The Weekend

This weekend has proven productive as I’ve managed to complete my tasks for this week’s Sprint. I’ve now moved on to the extra tasks that I set myself which is good as it means that I can get a head start on next week and hopefully be able to get the assets for the Shop environment completed a lot quicker than we first anticipated.
I seem to be getting better and quicker at doing my digital painting over the course of this project and it’s becoming apparent through the time I spend on these tasks compared to how long it used to take me. It goes to show that through practice I can improve my skills even in just a short period of time so who knows what my work could be like by the end of this project and further into the future.

Overall, this week has been surprisingly productive and I’m feeling motivated to continue on with the tasks that I’ve set myself. On Monday, I will be creating the next sprint where I’ll speak to Millie and James about how they’re doing and what they’ll be working on for the next week. We appear to be on track which is good so we just need to stay as focused as possible during this holiday so as not to waste too much time and make it easier on ourselves when we come back from Easter. 

Reflection of Week Seven

Week beginning 13th – 19th March

This week has been a bit of a muddle. What with the Reflective Journal deadline looming, the whole team have been feeling the pressure of trying to multi-task this demon alongside the Twilleir project. Due to this, I’ve found that progress has been slow with my area of the FMP sprint this week as I’ve been trying to get the RJ to a finished state. Although, despite this, I feel that my time management hasn’t been too awful as I’m still managing to multitask my tasks in between writing which has helped the workload.

Monday – Wednesday

I’ve also taken to working from home for most of this week, mostly because the stress and pressure of travelling between two places up to six times a week is becoming a bit much for me and affecting my work ethic. By taking Monday through to Wednesday ‘off’ from the studio and working from home, I’ve been able to power through my essays and started backburner tasks for Twilleir. This has been beneficial and it’s made me realise that sometimes I need to think strategically about what’s best for my work ethic and the project over whether I’m physically in the studio or not. The Twilleir team have already proved on many occasions that working via Skype and through screen-sharing has been working well to keep each other up to date. On Monday, James screen shared the progress of the Garden’s level to us where we could see all of our work come to life. With it being so near completion, it’s exciting and helped to motivate me in moving on to the next tasks and levels in Twilleir.
The fact we have been able to communicate effectively through Skype is promising news considering Easter is around the corner and we’re not all going to be together all the time like we are in the studio. I plan to have weekly Skype calls to set up Sprints and see how we’re all getting on so that we can stay on top of Twilleir and get it finished to a great standard.

Thursday

On Thursday, I worked alongside Millie to create the UI for the Gardens which are some of the last pieces to go into the level. Now that they are completed, it’ll be exciting to see all of the assets into the Unity project and mean that we can properly playtest the Gardens to see if the Player understands how they play and what they can interactive with. Once James has collated it all together, we will be planning to test it through playing, surveys and taking notes of Player’s reactions to the game in order to gather feedback, which if needed to, we shall implement.
I will be creating a paper-based survey and so have been looking at questions from articles from Gamasutra and Reddit forums that are beneficial when playtesting in order to get better responses that you can then fix and implement. 

  • Was there anything that you wanted to do/click on that the game didn’t let you?
  • What was your most favourite interaction and why?
  • What was your least favourite interaction and why?
  • If you could add anything or remove anything from the game, what would it be?
  • To what extent did you feel that you were in control of the outcome of the game?
  • Based off of what you’ve played so far, would you want to play other ‘levels’ in the game (Twilleir)?

Reddit also had plenty of questions that we should be asking ourselves based off of Player’s actions and responses which we shall be recording through notes and video to get the full benefit of playtesting and feedback.

  • Did the Playtesters appear to be enjoying themselves?
  • Did we notice any game-breaking strategies?
  • Did Players seem to understand the instructions set before them?

We plan to either Playtest on Friday 17th or Monday 20th (after RJ deadline when everyone will hopefully be less stressed!)

Friday

Today, we had various musicians come in to talk to us about music and narrative and what the common uses are:

  • Character theme/”Leitmotif”
  • Contextualising emotion/feel of scene/place
  • refining the style/ general aesthetic of the piece
    Alex also mentioned about having the same score in each room or place but slightly differing it depending on where you are. This was some really handy advice and definitely something to look into and experiment with.

1-1 Talk with Alex 

  • avoid repetition 
  • Winifred Reynolds??
  • embrace minimalist and cleverly
  • creating music that feels unpredictable so the brain doesn’t get repetition
  • Make the pieces longer – less repetitive
  • Enough variation of pieces (saving grace)
  • More iPad music pieces – great
  • could program so that you have layers and naturally builds within the game – makes it unpredictable
  • music to create a space
  • keeping a central motif – what we want to play around with 
  • Cave track – take time to bring layers in
  • make it easier for yourself and label layers one, two, three and layer unevenly – brain takes longer to learn it – tricking learner into not remembering 
  • aim to have something that’s maybe 4 minutes or longer?
  • create a sense of unity in the world by having a main tune/part of the music
  • He showed us one of the tracks he made for a game – layered up gradually with different instruments and behaviours – using fading in and out to help this. Also changing keys could work too.
  • Using layers to create situations – cues. I.e. was relaxed in his music and then it ramped up immediately – like they’ve just been attacked etc.
  • Create a track that’s constantly moving along = less repetitive, not distracting, sounds like a new track each time. There are limitations but this may be the way to go with our music
  • Give yourself 5 bars, loop, paste it over and play around

The talk and the 1-1 with Alex was really useful and it’s inspired us with the sort of direction that we need to go. He liked the music that Millie had already been working on and gave us some great advice (see notes above) as to what we could do next or how better to improve our work. Using his advice, we will be working on making the music less repetitive and more unpredictable so that the Player doesn’t get annoyed whilst playing. 

Today, I sat down with James and Millie in order to work through the Trello tasks to see what exactly we had left to do. We’ve fleshed out each card with checklists now so we know exactly what is expected of us and what we need to get done. It does look like a substantial amount to do in the time that we have left, however, I feel that over Easter we should be able to progress through quite a few tasks as we won’t have workshops or have to travel into university meaning there’s more time to work on Twilleir.
The next environment that we will work on will be the Shop but we will also be working on the Harvesting mini-game at the same time so we can gradually build Twilleir. It’s handy that James has already been building the majority of these systems so he can help to guide me and Millie in what he needs and how he needs it (transparent, different layers etc). This sort of teamwork has been crucial in getting our game off of the ground and with this continued input, I believe that we’ll get the game completed in the allotted time.

Over this weekend I will be taking the Saturday off due to personal reasons (it’s ma birfdaaaaaay) but I will be looking to take Sunday to double check my Reflective Journal pieces as well as continue working on the design for the Greenhouse. If I manage to get the Greenhouse designed this weekend, we can get it painted and implemented into the code then meaning that Gardens and Greenhouse environments are complete! Yaaaaaaay.

 

Reflection of Week Six

Week beginning 6th – 12th March

For this week, we continued on from last Friday and are working on the Gardens environment. We decided that it would be best to get one ‘level’ complete that we can playtest and fix rather than work on many different areas at the same time.

I’ve spent most of the week designing some of the Plant icons for the UI bar, Watering can icon, Trowel icon; pretty much most of the UI for the Gardens. I haven’t really ever worked on UI before so this was quite a challenge trying to figure out if the player would understand the icons that I’ve made within the game setting. I showed my work to the team and others within our target audience and they mentioned that they seemed clear and plus the tutorial, it should all work well. I suppose this is something that will tell in time after we’ve done some playtesting and if there are any adjustments needed then that will be easy enough, hopefully, to rectify. 

So, the Reflective Journal assignment is due very soon so I spent the majority of Wednesday and Saturday working on this. I managed to get a full first draft, full bibliography and citation of the 2500 word piece so I feel better a lot about the upcoming deadline. I’m just the smaller piece to write which I’ll hopefully have finished (first draft) by Wednesday 15th giving me a few days to sort out any issues and proofread it. I already planned what I will write it on and have the specific quotes and references that I’ll be using so it should hopefully not take me long to complete. Even though I have left it late with writing the essays this year, I feel I’ve managed to get better sources and have managed to focus on getting better material so I think my time management hasn’t been too bad. 

 

Christian Bravery Artwork for Blog
Christian Bravery – Artstation Piece

 

Christian Bravery
leadinglightdesign.com
@leadinglightdesign

Vanessa (TIGA)
vanessa@tiga.org

On Thursday, we had a brilliant talk from Christian Bravery from Leading Lights Design and had a brief informal talk with Vanessa from TIGA. Christian mentioned the sorts of games that he’d worked on such as Until Dawn, Resident Evil and Dead Island 2 which was quite overwhelming as some of these are games that I’ve played or seen and it was mad to have some time with someone who’d actually worked on something I’d had first-hand experience with; he also had been working on an interactive narrative called The Lock which I’ll be looking out for as it sounds awesome.
Not only did he wow us all with his background, we had the privelage of getting to see his process and speed paints as well as get some fantastic tips from him about creating concept art. Having this time with him was amazing, however, I felt quite demotivated after the talk purely because I feel that my digital painting skills haven’t progressed over the past two years due to me focussing on the projects we had on at the time. I feel that if I had actually assigned at least an hour a day or even one day a week to working on my art skills, I would feel like I’m in a better place now.

Notes on talk:
– mock up in 3D as it gives you new views you wouldn’t think of
– by doing this it helps with lighting and values too
– sketch over with line work
– reduce opacity of line layer to help with painting
– more important to capture the mood than anything else
– use the lasoo tool = can grab areas an then you don’t have to be meticulous with strokes. It’s more relaxed and gives a softer blend.
– decided what you want the focal point would be and make that the most detailed part

I had a chance to work on digital stuff this weekbut not only was I out of practice, I also was quite overwhelmed by Christian’s talk and had a bit of a meltdown crisis. In order to combat this, I need to try and make sure that I practice more and try and use Sundays as my personal development day as this will help not only the project but also help my skills and selfconfidence improve. I plan to do this by watching speed paints from artists such as Christian Bravery (like on his Instagram videos) and through using the Twitch creative streams to learn from other artists. 

Overall, this week has been quite a rollercoaster ride for me and I’m glad it’s over with. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get as much done as I needed to from the Sprint so I have added these tasks to the backburner chart and tomorrow, when I reorganise the Sprints, I will add these to my list of tasks. Having looked at the trello, it was originally overwhelming that we had so many things left to do, however, having flipped through the cards I managed to work out that we had finished bits of all of them due to our work that we did in the first couple of weeks. Once Gardens and Greenhouse is out of the way, I will be planning to go through the trello with the team where we can work out how much time we have left for each area. I feel it’s feasible that we’ll get everything out that we wanted to, it may just be a hell of a journey but it’ll depend how Easter goes. Due to all three of us being in a similar location, I will be looking to organise meetups where we can discuss what we’re doing, how the project is going and what we need to work on next; this will either be through Skype meetings or in person depending on work rotas etc.

It’ll be okay.