Postmortem Ethereal Team Ithaqua UPGRADE

Being the project manager for my first real game in a group of 6 people has been a learning experience for all of us. Keeping the group together and working with each other has been my task. We have had good times where we had successes with the game as well as more troubling ones where we have had a little conflict within the group.

The game as a whole came together very good in the end despite that one of our programmers ended up leaving 2 weeks before the game was done leaving all the programming to the less experienced programmer in the group. This did of course cause some problems as that programmer did not understand the code that the more experienced programmer was using. So inevitably some changes had to be done last minute to adjust it so our then current programmer would be able to finish the work and complete the game.

I decided to put together a group contract for our group, so we had something to fall back on in case something didn’t go well. Our group combination in itself was not very bad. We all did get along good enough to be in a professional work team, even though socially we did not all fit together quite as well. This of course did not really matter since we needed to be professional when working together and try to not get into fights.

Unfortunately, some little complications did arise but never ended up being bad enough to halt the work progress enough to miss a deadline.

We did however have some problems with one of the members continuously showing up late to the meetings and that became quite an annoyance. Fortunately, this did not end up slowing down the game progress since most of the work that needed to be done was for the programmers.

One major obstacle though was when our graphic student lost almost all his art work because the files got corrupted somehow and so destroyed the files. This added a lot of extra work to our artist who had to basically redo all the art work that was not already added to the game. One very valuable lesson was learned here though, which was that it was very important to always back up the files on some cloud storage or somewhere where they could be easily saved and used again in case something crashes.

We have of course had some delays within the group not only from the files being corrupted but also from people being sick and people being away for several days.

Of course this kind of stuff does happen, but as long as it does not affect the deadlines for the project then it is not a huge hurdle to overcome. When it comes down to it, real life will affect any project and create delays in certain ways which need to be taken care of as well as possible. This is one thing that I have learned and will now be able to prepare better for future project in a more agile way like we have learned in my project management class.

Our game turned out to be a fun game but didn’t have as many features as we liked to have. This was of course because we had the lack of a second good programmer. We did however have a very nice parallax background that was set up nicely by our artists and programmers. Since our game was supposed to have a feeling of flying above the clouds in a ship, we made the background look like clouds and a sunset like color. Our avatar ended up being a nice flying ship with a zeppelin type balloon on top, that was able to tilt up and down 45 degrees to shoot birds that were flying towards it. The ships projectiles were harpoons that were nicely described in the game concept which were able to pierce enemy birds, as well as fast shooting cannon balls that were not able to pierce. Our previous programmer had put a lot of work into the movement of the enemy birds that flew towards the player avatar, and therefore made it look very good. These birds were quite basic looking black birds. Before arriving close to the player, the birds fired small ball-like projectiles towards the player that dealt damage.
We had three or more types of art made for additional enemies that were supposed to act differently than the bird and have more life but did not make it into the final game because of time constraints and lack of our missing programmer. If the birds were killed, they had a chance to drop a little life crystal which the player could pick up and get its life replenished a bit. These were very necessary, because there were always a lot of birds flying towards the player.
The birds also constantly responded to the players movement up and down, and as they came closer they entered an orbit around the ship. When in orbit around the ship, they started firing electricity at the ship as they kept flying around the player. This electricity dealt constant damage and would eventually kill the player if he/she did not manage to kill them in time.
Once all the bird waves were killed off, we had a final boss at the end. This boss was green with red eyes and made to resemble a snake but might have looked like a lizard to some.
The boss was nicely programmed to lunge at the player, depending on where they were at when it started its lunge. This means that there was a slight delay for the player to dodge the bosses attack which would deal about a third of the players life in damage. Once the player had figured out this way of dodging the boss, it was possible for them to kill the boss and therefore win the game.
The sounds for the game, as described in my sound blog post, was done by me. Most of the sounds that we wanted, made it in to the game and made the game sound more immersive.

The fun thing about this game is that it is challenging, and it isn’t too long. The boss at the end might have proved too much to handle for players at first. But after playing it one-time people figured out the boss’s movement and were able to kill the boss the second or third time around at the latest.

Overall this project has helped me achieve my goal of becoming a good leader for the groups that I will be leading in the future, while preparing for inevitable hurdles that come along the way. I hope my group learned as much from this project as I did and will be able to develop and grow to continuously become a better self.

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