Returning from Montreal’s beautiful skyline back to Burlington, Vermont my most anticipated class at Champlain College this semester is easily Production 2. Where a teams consisting of producers, designers, artists, and programmers are thrown together and given a task, make the best game you can in the little amount of time you get. Teams create three prototypes, one for each week which they will then eliminate two of and present the final at the dreaded Mid-Mortems. Here teams and projects are cut based on feasibility, current progress, and quality. Who will survive? How many will break under the stress? When will this blog actually start? Who knows!
First of all meet my brothers and sisters in arms for Production 2, my team.
○ Austin Roorda - Lead Producer
First we have Austin Roorda, the producer and team lead. I have worked with Austin throughout my time studying abroad in Montreal on a three day game jam project, and am excited to work with him in a professional and ever changing environment of a larger team. Austin brings a lot to the table including (but not limited to) strong leadership, great documentation, and true care to our well being as developers.
○ Emmett Friedrichs - Lead Designer / Level Designer
Hey that’s me! I’m one of the two designers in the team. I plan to work on my teamwork and system design abilities, along with a focus in level design which I plan to specialize in. While my title is a designer I am also comfortable coding which I will utilize to assist the programmers on the projects we create.
○ Karl Lewis - Systems / Sound Designer
Karl is the second designer on our team, I have worked with Karl all throughout production 1 along with the same game jam project in Montreal. I have always been impressed with Karl’s ability and skill set in sound design, along with programming and systems design.
○ Josh Grazda - Gameplay and Systems Programmer
I also worked with Josh on the three day game jam while in Montreal, within those three days Josh displayed a heavy skill set in both game programming and teamwork. Not only is Josh Grazda a team player and heavily knowledgeable in his field but also someone that you can relax and goof around with. So far I have greatly enjoyed working with Josh and hope to work with him in future projects as well!
○ Riley Morrissey - Environment Artist
Riley Morrissey is the lead and environment artist within our team. Not only does Riley impress with her artistic skills in both 2D and 3D, she always brings a positive attitude to our meetings and work periods. You never know when Riley will surprise you with a picture of a random internet Corgi to brighten up your day.
○ Game Pitch:
Take control of an elite squadron of soldiers tasked with delving into a crashed spaceship to discover the contents inside. Faced with decisions that could risk valuable resources, the player must think quickly in this real-time environment to protect their squadron as death is permanent, and losing your highly trained medic might not be the best way to start the mission.
○ Game Pitch:
A cooperative experience that emerges 2 players into the imagination of siblings running away from home. Explore the world in different themes of a child’s imagination such as pirates, astronauts, cowboys, knights, and other fun worlds! Work together to solve environmental puzzles while slowly coming to terms with the events that caused you to run away, battling with the reality you are placed in.
○ Preparing and Polish:
After three weeks of prototyping we had to choose which to take forward and present to our peer and professors. After much deliberation with the team we decided to move forward with our game Best Thing Since.. And improve upon the prototype before Mid-Mortems. While preparing for Mid-Mortems with the stress and anxiety just around the corner of that fateful day, we have been practicing and building up the project into a state that will display all of its mechanics efficiently. Karl and I collaboratively worked on a prototype video to show off the game’s mechanics and where we could take it if it went through. After a week of polish and bug squashing all we had left to do was wait.
Finally the day arrived that we had been anxiously preparing for since the start of the semester. Every production team gathered into the school’s auditorium to present the games they had been working on to our peers and professors through a professional project pitch. Our team presented our game Best Thing Since… along with our prototype reel.
After all the presentations each team sent in two candidates to debate for the feasibility and viability of their game. After an hour or so around six teams were determined to go through out of the twenty. Our game remained as one of those games to move on through the cuts. In the following days we picked up a few new team members from the cut games which will allow us to add a lot more unique mechanics and polish to our game!
○ Brian Harney - Producer and Market Analyst
Brian originally worked on the game Ferals for mid-mortems and will be joining our team as another producer alongside our lead team producer Austin Roorda. Brian will be in charge of marketing and assist with additional documentation in the future.
○ Adam Streeter - Prop Artist
Adam originally worked on the game Covert Custodian for mid-mortems and brings his diverse art style and efficient time management skills to the team. Adam will be working alongside Riley in creating all the environmental props and food ingredient models for the game.
○ Kaylee Sharp - Generalist and Character Artist
Kaylee originally worked on Ferals with Brian, and will be joining the squadron of artists as a generalist artist who will be exceptional in creating the user interface, characters and environment details. Kaylee will be filling in the gaps of our art production pipeline that will add the polish and detail to make Best Thing Since.. stand out from the crowd.
○ Cameron Belcher - AI Programmer
Cameron also worked on the Ferals project with Kaylee and Brian, Cam is joining our team as an AI Programmer and will be reworking our main camera and enemy creeps programming to improve the game play experience overall. Cameron will also be working on our future mechanics and game modes to improve the product.
○ Genevieve Guimond - Narrative Designer
Genevieve originally worked on the Covert Custodian project for mid-mortems with Adam and will be joining us as a freelance narrative designer. Genevieve’s focus will revolve around flavor text and narrative elements such as a sandwich recipe book, and monster combinations to give that narrative addition to our game. Genevieve has worked on many professional projects as a writer and as such her skills are a welcome addition to the team!
Throughout these past weeks I have learned a lot about project and team management and the stages of rapid prototyping. I’ve been also focusing on my specialization through systems and level design and what I can bring to the team and the product through my specific skills and abilities. We have recently decided to re brand our game and team names as at this point in time they are too similar and can be confused easily. Our current team name Simple Sandwich is now replacing the game’s branding (what once was Best Thing Since..), while we are re-branding our team to be Fellow Humans along with a new logo to represent this change created by one of our new artists Adam. When looking ahead we plan on adding as much as we possibly can to Simple Sandwich, things including new game modes and general forms of polish. We do plan on hopefully releasing the game once it is in a finish state, that will depend on a lot of variables. In the future of this project I hope to flesh out my abilities related to my specialization and my development within the team.