Week 11 — Adjourning

2021-08-09

We’re now in the penultimate week of this module. A question and a prompt from the spark forum:

Question: Can you recall a significant moment during the project’s development?

There’s was a moment a few weeks ago where we noticed that an individual’s tasks weren’t progressing, but we’ve put in the necessary backups to lessen the impact of this.

Prompt: Consider carrying out a final retrospective to highlight the successes of your project, while taking care to review the challenges (if any) that may have impacted overall progress.

I’ve scheduled a final retro a half hour before our final supervisor catchup on Monday 2021-08-16.

Personal brand

We’re asked to reflect on personal brand again. You can see my answer from the first module here. This week’s answer:

I thought about getting the “indie dev studio” thing going, having a studio name, and a logo, make it all a bit more official. But, I’m nowhere near doing this yet. I think for the time being, I’ll just be making games as me.

However, if I had to come up with something… The company I use for freelance (web dev) is called Unleash Your Server, which uses the letters from my surname. I’ll probably end up doing the same for a studio, and re-purpose the domain name. As for coming up with a name, my name generator came up with Undeniable Yellow Stain, so there’s that. (There’s not much to do with that Y, and a lot of studios already use Yeti.)

I then go on to link to a few of my online portfolios (LinkedIn, uys.io (out-of-date), and juanuys.com).

As you can see, I’m still nowhere near having a “studio name”. However, I’ve subsequently seen this talk by Bennett Foddy and Zach Gage titled “Put Your Name on Your Game” (GDC n.d.), which resonates with me, and probably explains my unease at coming up with a studio name.

My strategy in life has always been to speak the truth, and be true. (It makes for a very easy life, as you don’t have to remember which lies you told to whom, so kind of like a “stateless” existence.) As such, I should have no issue just using my real name with all my projects, as there would be nothing to hide from. Also, it will help immensely in the early stage of my career to associate ME with MY WORK.

There’s also the danger, of course, that I just bomb on my first project, and forever taint my name. But, hey, this is why I’m doing this course, so I can make educated and well-researched decisions about my work so I don’t suffer from these failures. (It’s good to have a bit of courage and faith about these things too.)

Team attitude

Our team members had a good attitude. This worked out well for us, because we never had bad blood, or fought. In fact, hiring people with a good attitude is better than hiring highly skilled people with a bad attitude (Belker et al. 2012).

Belker also encourages us to help your employees succeed before dismissing them. We’re all human beings, after all (2012). I think this strategy stood us in good stead: there was an indicent in our team where someone wasn’t performing, and another asked me about calling said person out. I employed what could be called “emotional intelligence” (haha!) and recommended they go easy on said individual, as the latter might have had to resubmit the previous module, so was probably burnt out, or had real extenuating circumstances. I mean, what’s the point? They will most likely end up even more demotivated than motivated by a telling-off.

In the end, our team is super happy, and we all love each other, which was a goal I stated in our team charter. We avoided the type of conflict which damages teams. We’re in this together, right?

Division of work

Not everyone has the same work ethic, and not everyone can find a sense of mission within themselves, and needs a bit of hand-holding.

Schell has this idea of getting team members something to fall in love with (Schell 2019: 461). If a cool project is not movitating enough, one might have to resort to giving them the fun and easy tasks, like coming up with story, or coming up with SFX to use in the audio. The real work is then actually writing the prose, or the audio engineer having to mix/master the audio that someone else chose.

PS let’s just say that the task division between individuals went something along the lines of this tweet:

Weekly development log

2021-08-09 Monday

Busy uni day for me today.

Finish off Pivotal task “Investment breakdown and key milestones” pitch content doc, and then incorporate it into the final pitch doc.

Also, have a look over the rest of the team’s deliverables, to see what’s up for discussion in tonight’s supervisor catchup. Matty is on holiday, and probably won’t attend, but there will be a whole bunch for us (the team) to discuss.

Work some more on the 3-minute demo video.

I also had a catch-up with our personal tutor at noon, and we basically covered some stuff which is coming up in the next (indie game startup) module. I’m mega excited for that one.

2021-08-09 Tuesday

All 5 of us were given tasks to contribute to the final pitch deck:

  • Oli, the “comparable media and bandersnatch post-mortem” pitch content doc
  • Luis, the “UX/research key deliverables and deductions” Pitch content doc
  • Maciej, the “Genre, audience, product-market fit” pitch content doc
  • Myself, the “Investment breakdown and key milestones” pitch content doc
  • Josh, tying it all together (which involved a lot of work, and I’m sure Josh will talk in-depth about this in his blog)

I spent most of the day getting my task done, and consulted Knezovic’s Mobile Game Launch Strategy (Knezovic 2020), and Kramarzewski’s Practical Game Design (Kramarzewski and Nucci 2018), the latter which has a lot of overlap with Mark Cerny’s “Method” (2012), in which my budget breakdown covered not just the delivery of the product, but also the ongoing post-launch activities like support and marketing. I suppose at some point a product would have reached end-of-life, after which any support queries find themselves at the bottom of the list, or are fielded by a bot which just tells you to read the FAQ.

2021-08-10 Wednesday

I spent most of the day on my own main task, which is getting the 3-minute demo video (for the group submission) done. I have to say, I’m extremely proud of what the team have achieved. Josh’ sterling creative writing, narrated by Luis’ soothing voice, underpinned by Maciej’s wonderful artwork, all brought together in a nice package with the promise of Oli’s Unity skills.

2021-08-11 Thursday

Worked some more on cutting the 3-minute demo video tonight. Published draft #1 of our 3-minute demo video.

2021-08-12 Friday

Worked some more on cutting the 3-minute demo video tonight. Published draft #2 of our 3-minute demo video.

Bibliography

  1. BELKER, Loren B., Jim MCCORMICK and Gary S. TOPCHIK. 2012. The First-Time Manager. 6th ed. New York: AMACOM, American Management Association.
  2. KNEZOVIC, Andrea. 2020. “Mobile Game Launch Strategy: How to Launch Your Game?” Udonis. Available at: https://www.blog.udonis.co/mobile-marketing/mobile-games/mobile-game-launch-strategy [accessed 9 Aug 2021].
  3. KRAMARZEWSKI, Adam and Ennio De NUCCI. 2018. Practical Game Design. Available at: http://sbiproxy.uqac.ca/login?url=https://international.scholarvox.com/book/88856838 [accessed 9 Aug 2021].
  4. SCHELL, Jesse. 2019. The Art of Game Design: a Book of Lenses. Third edition. Boca Raton: Taylor & Francis, a CRC title, part of the Taylor & Francis imprint, a member of the Taylor & Francis Group, the academic division of T&F Informa, plc.
  5. ACADEMY OF INTERACTIVE ARTS & SCIENCES. 2012. “D.I.C.E. Summit 2002 - Mark Cerny.” Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOAW9ioWAvE [accessed 6 Feb 2021].
  6. GDC. n.d. “Put Your Name on Your Game, a Talk by Bennett Foddy and Zach Gage.” Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4UFC0y1tY0 [accessed 16 Aug 2021].

This post is part of my critical reflective journal and was written during week 11 of the module co-creative development.

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