Semester Reflection

With hand in drawing near it is time to reflect upon the successes and failures of the project, how these could be prevented and future plans I have for Hurry Hurry Heal Me.

Throughout the project I feel Bobbie and I have worked strongly as a team. She has been an outstanding team mate, due to her strong work ethic and supportive nature.

Though the concept of Hurry Hurry Heal Me was my idea, I feel Bobbie has managed to equal my passion for the project. I believe this is due to us setting challenging project goals that relied on both of us working well together. Therefore this helped me give up full ownership over the project and so we could then both take control of it. I also feel by working so closely with Bobbie on the project, it has benefited me as a team player. With such a large task for the semester and only 2 of us working on the project, I relied heavily on Bobbie to work hard and code the game (which she did). Previously I would try to do others work as well as my own, because I couldn’t give up full ownership, but through this project I have learnt to trust other team members, due to Bobbie working hard and producing all her work to the deadline. I think this has benefited me, as I could work solely on my own tasks and complete them to the best of my ability, and never did I worry about Bobbie not fulfilling her goals.

So for future projects I will try to trust the skills and abilities of all team members, to ensure all members feel they have equal ownership over the project and I can put all my effort into the tasks I have at hand. To ensure the game is of a high standard and completed on time.

Throughout the project Bobbie and I had strong communication and planning skills. I’d put this down to us using the scrum methodology, by us having weekly sprint meetings where we would review our progress from the previous week and plan for the next, as well as us always being in the studio together, so we could constantly ask questions and gain feedback from one and other. Also I believe are large kanban wall was effective in keeping us organised and completing the game for the deadline. As I feel being able to visually see what tasks had be done, were being done and needed doing, as well as verbally discussing the tasks, was useful in keeping each other up to date with the progress of the project, so we knew where and when deadlines had to be altered or compromised. Using these methods it also ensured I always knew what my task were and what Bobbie’s were. Therefore I don’t feel I ever did anything that was greatly unnecessary, so my time was always used wisely. Having had such a positive response to the scrum and kanban, I think I will definitely try to use these methods again within other projects to ensure I stay well organised.

However, having said how organised we were as a team, there were points during the project were I greatly under estimated the time it would take me to learn and make models in Maya. During a couple occasions in the semester I struggled to complete my sprint goals, as I was unsure how long it would take me to learn specific techniques, because it is not something I had had experience before and so I didn’t leave enough time to properly learn. This made me feel behind on my work and stress about the project, which didn’t help with my confidence in animating and modelling and started to hinder my enjoyment of the development during this time.

If I was able to do this project again, I would definitely allow more time to learn Maya and not set specific goals when learning. As I feel this would allow me to learn and test out a range of skills, ensure I had a solid base knowledge of Maya modelling and animating, which I think could have helped to prevent issues later in the project.

As a whole, creating and animating 3D models was a painful experience. My time using Maya was a greatly emotional and stressful one, as I had to overcome so many issues while self teaching myself the program. Models would deform unexpected and rigs would randomly stop and start working without any identifiable reason why. It felt like every single aspect of modelling/animating would throw up an issue. Though I was always constantly researching and following tutorials, solutions to issues were difficult and frustrating to find. I found the whole process demotivating and it killed my enjoyment for the project at this point. This made me think erratically, which I feel made me make some bad decisions over my animation choices, for example picking a skipping rather than running animation. The progress of the models slowed because of this and I spent a large amount of time working on them, cutting down the hours I had for other tasks.

If I had the chance to redo this project, I would not volunteer myself to create the 3D assest. It was far to much hassle and stress for me to cope with. However if I needed to do it, I think having an experienced tutor to help teach me techniques and who I could go to for support with issues, would be extremely useful. So often I would come across an issue that I wouldn’t fully understand what the problem was and so it became nearly impossible to find a solution. But by having someone else with more knowledge to discuss issues with, it would help to solve them quicker, helping to save me time and stress, so I stay motivated throughout the project.

Though there were great lows in the project there were also highs. I think there were a couple of pivotal moments that have helped the project become as successful as it is.

Firstly going to EGX Rezzed. At Rezzed Bobbie and I managed to talk to a range of different developers even the creators of Overcooked. I found the whole experience very inspiring, as it brought the idea of creating games back down to Earth. Everything we asked developers about their process was similar to what we were doing – forming prototypes, iterating upon different ideas and talking and showing people. Therefore I found it to be a useful trip in helping boost my confidence in the project, especially after all my issues with Maya the weeks prior. It was comforting to here that what Bobbie and I were doing was take us in the right direction and that there is nothing stopping us exhibiting our game here next year.

So I felt the trip was not only useful in helping to humanise the development of other games, but giving me confidence that I can become a developer. It also helped me to learn about other opportunities to show case Hurry Hurry Heal Me to the public through the Norwich Games Festival. I would highly recommend all students do to Rezzed, to help break down the barriers of students and professionals to build confidence after uni.

The second pivotal moment in the project was Bobbie getting the Nintendo Switch controllers working with the game. Up until this point it had all been a fantasy of actually getting the game to work on the Switch, at least from my perspective. I was excited by the idea of developing for the Switch but I never actually thought that the ambition would come to life. However getting those controllers working was what helped to change my thinking. Suddenly the controllers were working and it was bringing the ambition to life. From this point on wards I started to believe the game could be published on the Switch. The controllers suited the play style of the game, they were small and a limited amount of buttons, with only 3 controls this was all the game needed. By having the controllers work it was that step closer to having the game working on the Switch.

This certainly excited me and started to quickly build up my passion for the project. Which looking back now I think has benefited the project by giving me more drive and confidence to create a successful prototype. Meaning I worked harder than before and took a lot of consideration into the decisions that I was making. I think having this added drive is what pushed me to say yes to going to the Norwich Games Festival. Which was an amazing experience in terms of learning what it is truly like to be an indie developer, as this is something they would and did do.

From this I have learnt that it pays to be ambitious. New technology is exciting and can spark some strong passion and drive into a project that may not be acquired otherwise. I know now that I should always be challenging myself and going beyond the norm, as this has the potential to produce outstanding results. Within future projects I shall try to ensure that there is always an aspect of the project that is innovative, as that will help to ensure the product is just as exciting and innovative.

Overall I am very proud of the project and feel it is has been a great success, as Bobbie and I have managed to fullfil our goal of creating a polished prototype, that shows the concept of the game and is even working on the Nintendo Switch controllers. As a team we have certainly challenged ourselves and stretched our abilities to the limits, which I feel is key to the projects success, because we have put ourselves out there going to conventions and exhibiting at games festivals. We have not only created a great game but we have pushed beyond that by putting it out into the public’s eyes and trying market it and planned out ways of publishing it. Which I feel shows that we are working professionally and are ready for the outside world.


Future Plans

My future plan for Hurry Hurry Heal Me is to get it completed and published on the Nintendo Switch. Saying this and then doing it are two very different things, however I am confident this could be done.

Bobbie and I have already started to market the game and spread the world about it, by taking it to Norwich Games Festival and discussing it with people at the Women In Games (WIG) event, showing that we have taken the steps into showing our game to the public.

Majority of the people we have spoken to about the project have been interested in it and wanted to test it out. We have even set up a play day for employees at Ukie to test out the game, after we mentioned it to Dr Jo Twist at the WIG awards.

I believe the next step is to start contacting publishers and Nintendo by sending out our promotional packs but also going to more events to meet people directly. I think having a personal interaction with someone helps people remember who you are and what your game is. Therefore I believe when trying to grab publishers attention, mentioning I’ve spoken to them directly will help me stand out and show I am truly keen to work with them. All helping to increase the likelihood of getting Hurry Hurry Heal Me on the Switch.

Develop is a games conference that was mentioned to me several times at the WIG event as a great way to network with people. With this coming up in July, I think this would be a perfect opportunity to try to connect with publishers or others in the industry. Even if all else fails with the game, having a network of contacts in the games industry could help me when trying to find a job. As getting recommended by someone and being known by a lot of people will boost my employ-ability. So I will plan to go to Develop, hopefully take Bobbie along with me, and together we can talk to a range of people and even show them our game. Who knows, maybe a deal could come out of that.