Home Postmortem

The Home project was a experimental game about a feeling that connects you to home.

After two weeks of development for the home project, right before our first play test session I suffered a nasty leg injury, throwing the project into a tailspin, as the other team members were relying on me for technical implementation. The problem itself was not the injury, it was how it affected the project.

The project from a technical perspective was behind compared to the other areas of design. This was mostly due to personal motivation issues.

No risk plan, as well as lacking in comprehensive technical documentation. On such a small team with such a short time frame, I do not think that any of us thought for their to be any need for a risk plan. And without a full tech document. It make sense that the project had to be scaled back as hard as it had to be.

My only real recommendation as how to mitigate this kind of problem is to actually put together a comprehensive risk plan, that covers leaving team members, or major project stalls.

The really positive thing was the team response to the previously mentioned injury. The team managed to pivot to the new angle quickly, and effectively.

The pivot was managed by down scoping the the focus of the interaction. Due to the unavailable physical development time, and technical help that I would have possibly been able to provide.

The result was a deeper focus on two areas of the original narrative, instead of having more independent sequences. Giving two distinct experiences, instead of the one main experience with multiple separate dreamlike experiences set between narrative beats.

The best solution I can think of for this kind of situation; Having a project with areas that could be expanded into in more detail, enabled a focused and effective pivot. So in future having a modularised progression seems like an effective plan.

One of my favorite aspects of the project, that was unfortunately heavily affected by the required pivot, was the designed narrative drive of the original project design.

The Home project was meant to be about a feeling of home. Outside of that the brief was very flexible.

So this enabled a narrative approach to the project, that I personally never would have considered.

My take away from this would be to work with anyone and everyone.(within reason.) To best take advantage of the differences of ideas and drive that we all have. Game development is most often a very creative driven experience, and this change of drive from my normally mechanically driven style of game development, was very inspirational, and I look forward to work with people who approach games in a way that I do not.

Conclusion

The biggest takeaways from this project is that you can still make something great even when required to hard pivot by unforeseen situations. To try and forward plan for situations that would cause you to make a hard pivot, such as losing a team member or having a major part of the project change. And to design around the idea of change, by sectioning the project in its development.

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Postmortem – Creature Feature

Overview

Creature feature was a project focused on learning how to plan, implement, and utilize; Spatial Graphs, Pathfinding, and AI. Unfortunately my project fell apart in the first two areas, but I learned a lot about my own personal processes from it, leading to better project development down the line.

Planning

The project suffered from over complication of systems caused by planning issues.

Context: My overconfidence with the concepts that where core to the project. I tend to pick up on concepts quickly as they are described, allowing me to fall into the the pitfalls in my knowledge. This caused issues during the implementation phase, most of the systems required checks and direct references to other systems, that I did not asses. There was not enough attention to detail of how and why systems would need to communicate.

I would like to blame this problem on inexperience. It is true that this did play a role in the problem but the largest cause was negligence. I enjoy the act of writing code, it is exciting and interesting. Leading me to abandon documentation earlier than would be beneficial in most situations.

To better manage these in the future; I need to lean into the excitement of design, and stay my hand until I have a plan.(he he I did not even plan for that to rhyme..) Also need to plan better communication between my systems, as that is an area that I want to be a keystone of my personal skill set. Abstraction is such a powerful thing in OOP. It is like negative space in an image, one class not knowing about another should be a deliberate decision, not a side effect other parts of the design.

Implementation

The code suffered from trying to patch what would have been quicker and better if refactored. These issues extend from the planning issues but are not inherently caused by it.

The context: The time for this project felt more limited than it actually was and the Project was covering new complicated areas that I am inexperienced in.

A lot of the systems being implemented were things that I had not personally a tried before. As a result a lot of it was key for key tutorial copy. This is one thing I feel justified in blaming my inexperience. Spacial Graph Generation and Pathfinding are two very complicated subjects.

Things to be aware of moving forward; These systems specifically are things that will take some time to learn properly, and even then I know are areas that I do not natively “get” requiring a more rigorous play by play planning for reliable implementation in the future. Additionally, If I want to learn something quicker and better I should make multiple quick passes at its implementation, testing as I go.

Conclusion

I still have a lot to learn but I honestly feel that I this project helped me to grasp just how important it is when learning something new and complicated. Do the thing multiple times, in a short period of time. Get familiar with the concept in its implementation. Poke, prod, and test it. Additionally, abstraction and the conscious decision as to why two system do not interact.

Moving Forward

After what feels like weeks of procrastination and struggle, with motivation and depression being punctuated by suffering a rather severe ankle injury. I finally think I am ready to push past the struggle and just get this shit done. So here is my plan to do just that. Good luck me, I guess.

Demonstration of AI – GOAP

My current demonstration of Ai in the creature feature project is lacking in its implementation. The integration of the AI with entities, world generation, and pathfinding are overly interconnected, and poorly planned. Resulting in any changes to one system require full thought to how it will impact the other systems, this is a big mess that is overly complicated to work with. To mitigate this and demonstrate ai without driving myself insane, I have decided to demonstrate through a different project that’s soul focus is the ai itself without any other complicated systems.

High Concept

Cover the idea of the project, the AI system, and the limited supliment systems.

Ai Breakdown

An in depth point to point breakdown and plan of the AI system.

Tech Spec

A breakdown of the supliment systems.

Tech Spec Documents

I need more progress on these in the areas of Writing and Updating. I plan to cover these with the GOAP project and the WOFSM project.

 

Post Mortems

Up to this point I believe that I have shown that I know how to write a decent post mortem, I just need more examples of that. I will be writing a post mortem for each of the coming projects. These being:

  • Creature feature
  • Home
  • GOAP
  • WOFSM

Tech User Doc for WorkOrderFSM

This is a small WIP project that I used to focus myself back into work after my injury. It is designed to make moving forward with the GOAP project easier, and also to prove to myself that I knew how to write a useable abstract Object Oriented class.

User Manual

Being I plan to release the WorkOrderFSM project as a public Git that others can download and use in their own projects. It needs a user manual.

Tech Spec

The tech spec will accompany the user manual as breakdown of the abstract class as a how and why.