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Studio 1 “What the Matter” Post Mortem

We’re done! That’s what the matter is. This is the end of project 2, our board game design project. What the matter is a point were player are able to play and complete a game with a definite winner. This is the end of the design work for this project as our graphic designer will take it from here and produce a complete board game by the end of week 13. Our team though minus a remember by the end are happy with what we have ended with after these last four week of testing and iteration. From now until week 13 we are moving on to another project but we are still will be trying to make this a great produce by that point, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

This blog will break down our last four, what went will, what could have gone better and what could we do for next time to help replicate the good or stop the bad from happening again.

What did go well?

Scope 

Our team from the start consisted of 4 members, 2 designer and 2 programmers. So we came into this with different approaches and skill sets. With a 4 week window we were all the same page that is game need to have a scope that was achievable, this was something that we made sure that we adhered to. There were several times that both designer (myself included ) had plans of grandeur only to have a programmer worry about if there was too much being crammed in to the design. So they keep that in check at times which was a great help.

Things that help this was everyone being part of brainstorming and documentation ground work. So what we wanting the game to be from the get go was a group idea and had different level of consideration on all parts with helped others learn and build a solid knowledge of a design framework.

Our Random element

Scoping the board game wasn’t difficult as we had a random element that would work as the main form of random the players were to interact with. A bag of 3 colours and 9 of each colour, was an interesting element to make work well as draws from this bag were random. This become something that changed greatly. But we stuck to a core design and made work well without it becoming convoluted by the end.

Player Fun

This was something that you could say all good games have but I feel there was particular allowance for this from the start in ways that we designed or decided on elements in our design. Giving players a choice at several points in players turn or over the course the game did result in a very uncertain game flow and duration. But every game that was part of a play test had friends laughing at what would play out or players would team up on one only for that one to have a comeuppance. By no means did the game work there were broken elements for sure but once  this become something that players did on each play through, we made sure that it was kept and that we didn’t made drastic changes to alter this .

Collaborator involvement

This was something that members of our group were wary about as working with someone outside of game design might be difficult. Early on I was put as lead on the project and made communication a big thing that was open and clear for all and between all. Our designer also made this top on the list of things to make work, he would always play our game on play tests and give feed bad too all elements, something else that made this flow a lot better during design was not try to make this game in a style that our designer didn’t feel comfortable doing. There where elements that come to light that our designer feel didn’t fit the theme or continuity that we change and where the better for instead of saying just go with it. Leaving some of the interpretation of elements style to our designer also yielded good results and made the designer fell as if this was as much as his work as ours. That scene of ownership I think is a great sign of collaboration.

What didn’t go well?

Team communication 

Communication between all team members and that goes for myself as well, could have been better. For a majority our group meeting and time were all team members worked on elements went will and was productive. However getting everyone to that point was something that would be something that was arduous. Member schedules would be vague and something not update to reflect their movements. This meant that not all team members would be up to-date with changes or on the day of deadlines. This meant that there was a perpetual catch up of info that lead to productivity being something we were always chasing and not achieving in the long term of the project.

Responsibility 

Establishing roles and responsibilities would be a good idea for us early on in the development. Unfortunately this wasn’t something that happened and added to loss of time for our team. Establishing a leader was a start but there wasn’t any other roles determined is would have ensure that all communication and planning wouldn’t be on one person. In addition having one elected person that all final changes. Is like have the start and finish of something and none of what happens between.

Our team consisted of 2 designer and 2 programmers, which by the 2nd week of the project become 1 designer and 2 programmers it become clear that some member uncomfortable and couldn’t contrite to areas of the design process of our board game, which is fair as there wasn’t any programming in a digital scene. There were time that their logic came in very useful but that was only after the fact of hours of work taking place where the thinking in the design process could have help see this issue earlier.

Establishing roles and responsibilities and helping each other out with different tasks that others may not be as well adapt in is a part of teamwork and learning new skills, and this was something that was missing from our development team. This wasn’t always the case but more often than not this would be evident.

What have we learnt from? And what will change next time?

Determine a Leader

Determining roles and responsibilities is going to be the first thing we organize when transitioning into our new teams for project 3. This will solve a lot of issues that have been occurring in the past. Having clear roles and responsibilities in place beside that of project lead, will have others taking the load of just one person. This will help everyone to know where to go and who to go to for what information.

Since receiving the brief for project 3 and being decided into a new team we have already determined roles and responsibilities, we have a rough schedule at this stage and it’s being added to constantly, and we have a clear and consistent calendar that shows availability. To help better inform the members of our team.

Scheduling and Calendar

Creating a personal work schedule and your team schedule is something that will happen early on, this will help clear your minds for the tasks at hand if all the planning is own in writing, this will also help you know what will need to be done, when to do it by, who will have it covered, and list for everyone be that team and collaborators to know where the project is at.

This will only be possible if a clear and well-structured schedule in place, this is something that has happen in the transitioning into project 3 our team has created a rough schedule and calendar that shows, tasks we need to tackle first, and a shared working calendar shows our week and availability so we can better plan tasks and the flow of the project

Communication

It’s important that clarity with your team is paramount , being aware of what others are working on and what is coming in a couple of day window will help everyone stay on top of the work load physical and mentally. Allowing for face to face meetings or establishing a set day and time each week where you will hold an online discussion is important, as you can establish upcoming tasks and check up on progression in these times.

Our team for project 3 have not discussed a day and time that this chat will be held, but now that we have all updated the teams working calendar we can start to see time slots where we are all available and we can start to discuss possibilities.

 

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