Checking In!

Hello!

It is almost December, holidays less then a month away, and coming up very quickly on project deadlines. But how am I going to be able to tell if I am behind on my work you ask?

Boom!Gantt 1Gantt 2

Gantt charts.

What is a Gantt chart? Glad you asked.

There is about 5-6 weeks left until we need to present our projects as final presentations to the class. Me and my team mates have a lot of work needed to get done, and it can be rather easy to be overwhelmed by the workload, and not realize how behind you are. This is where the Gantt chart comes into play.

The red writing on the left side of the chart represents our major milestones that we will need to complete for our project. Because I am working with a team of three, you may notice that the bottom chart has different names associated with some of the milestones. This is just to separate the different tasks between me and my teammates. You may also notice that because I said “the bottom chart”, that there is a second chart. You would be very correct in realizing this. The chart on the top represents our progress as a whole over the semester. The milestones on the top chart are represented by each of our scenes that we will need to implement into our game. A “scene” is just a major plot point within our game, and where most of the action will occur. Each scene needs a total ten steps to be created, and rather then repeating those same ten steps seven times over on the top Gantt chart, we instead decided to create the second chart on the bottom just for creating individual scenes.

These charts are used to keep track of our progress, however, they will not magically keep track of our progress on their own. We first needed to setup the time that each milestone will be started, and the duration of time that we will need to create said milestone. To do this, all you need to do go to the four different columns beside the milestones. The first two columns, “Start day”, and “Duration”, is where you determine… you guessed it, the start day and the duration of each milestone. In the same row as your milestone, you will type in the red number that is over top of the chart the corresponds to the day you will be starting on. Keep in mind that the charts are based off of five day weeks, and the red numbers are not the same as the day of the month. Once you type in the red number that corresponds to your start date, you can type the number of the days that you will need to complete it under the duration column. This will create those light purple bars on the right side of the chart. The next two columns, “Action steps total”, and, “Action steps complete”, deals with the smaller steps that will be needed to complete the milestones. In our case, the bottom Gantt chart would represent the top charts action steps, and the action steps for the bottom chart are much small, quicker steps, however there are much more of them, and were not included in these documents as they would take up too much space. We write in the number of action steps for a milestone, and as we work, we can write in the number of action steps that we have completed. Once we do this, it will give us a percentage of completion for each milestone based on how many action steps we have completed, and turn the light purple bars dark, based on how much is completed. This is going to tell us where we are with the progress of our project, showing us how much we have complete, and when we need to complete it by. This is going to help a great deal with putting the progress of our game into perspective as we move forward. Especially due to the fact that, based on our Gantt chart, we will have our seventh scene complete with one week left to spare before presentation… if everything goes to plan.

Now, to see where we are currently at with out progress, we can look at the bottom Gantt charts. To date, we have completed our first two scenes, and currently working toward completing the third. Based off of this week, I have completed 60% of my “Story/dialogue workflow” with being on time for the progress on that weekly milestone, however am at 0% completion for my “Soundscape workflow”, being four days behind. My teammate, Tom, is at 0% completion for his “Environment design workflow”, and 20% complete his “Moving character workflow”. Even though he still has time to complete those milestones and is not behind, he needs to make sure that he is able to catch up and have those completed for the end of week deadline. My third teammate, Tarren, is at 71% completion for his “Environment coding workflow”, 78% for his “Character Sprite workflow”, and at 100% for the rest, being on time for all of them. Through these charts, we can see that we have so far been on time with the creation of the first two scenes, however are behind on the current scene and need to pick up the pace in order to stay on time and have the scene done by the end of this week.

The reason that we are behind on a chunk of this weeks work is mainly because of recent changes to the story of our game. One of the main ideas for our game was to be able to send a message regarding mental. However, we realized that with what we had, and where we were going, we wouldn’t be able to send the proper message that we intended. To fix this problem, I needed to incorporate a new character, and a new plot point in order to steer our project towards the right direction. This addition caused me to be behind on this weeks progress, as I was spending the majority of my time changing some future plot points in order to compensate for the addition. This will cause us to not only be behind on this weeks progress, but may cause a chain reaction of slowed progress going into the next weeks.

If we manage to finish this weeks milestones on time, and with a little hard work and late nights, I believe we can, then progress will go according to plan. Finalizing this weeks scene, and moving into next week, I will need to host a meeting with my team on Monday, giving them the results of the “Story/dialogue” workflow, which is in the form of a dialogue/interactions script that they will need for the current week’s scenes, in order to move ahead smoothly. After that, I will need to complete my “Soundscape Workflow” for the end of Wednesday, resulting in sound effects and a soundtrack needed for the next week’s scene. As for the Gantt chart, it will be as if we are going back to day one on the bottom Gantt chart, and repeat the same steps needed to complete the next scene. This will be the same process for every week leading up to the end of the semester.

This week was kind of a wake up call for me and my group, as we are a little behind, and forcing to realize how much one ignored milestone can affect our whole progress down the line.  Although, I don’t believe this will be a problem in the future because we took this week as a learning experience, and as long as we stick to our Gantt charts we will be able to complete all of our milestones on time.

Until my next blog, take care. 😉

 

 

 

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Into Action

In a group of three, Tom, Tarren, and myself, are creating a 16-bit video game with Game Maker Studio 2, which is what the actual game is going to built inside. Tom will be responsible of the games visuals, character style, and how everything will look. Using Game Maker Studio, and tying the game together is Tarren. He is creating the bones and structure that will allow the player to move around and explore our alternate reality. As for me, I will be creating the plot and music for the game, hoping to set the feel and pace.

With the goal of having a fully functional, five minute demo within the next few months. We need to get some serious work done. First, within our three man group, we need to decide and finalize the path and direction that our plot is going to be headed in. This is the biggest and most key part, because without a solid understanding of how our game is going to unfold, it is hard for any of us to move forward. Once that step is final, we are going to be able to move full force into the production of the game.

Set in a dystopian reality, our game is about a man who lost his wife in the terrors of war. Living an everyday hell, his only reason for living is because of a certain dream that he has recently been having. In this dream, all his problems are fixed. Tall buildings, fresh grass, continuous advertisements of fast-food everywhere he goes, and fresh air that isn’t polluted with dust. The dream felt real, but the man began to feel as if this dream was starting to consume him little by little. One day, the man wakes up from the sound of a phone ringing. It was his wife. His wife, who he hasn’t heard from or shouldn’t have heard from, for over a year. 

Not being able to tell the difference between his dreams and reality, one being a utopia where it focuses on interaction between our protagonist and his wife, and the other, a dystopia where our protagonist seeks communication with other survivors of war. This game will completely revolve on your choices through dialogue, but it will also include various puzzles and thrilling scenes.

Working together to create the first few levels, and giving each other feedback, our main focus for now, is to work on our communication and make sure that we are all on the same page with everything that we are doing, and helping each other out when we need to.

Even though we have our basic overview of our plot, the next challenge is to be able to connect that plot with enjoyable gameplay for the players, and make it so that it is not just like a storybook. We want them to be able to invest themselves in the story, but also have them enjoy all the little things in between. It will be exciting yet stressful. The next few weeks are going to really test my abilities to work as a team, and get things done on time. But overall, I plan to have fun and learn from this experience as much as I can.

Until my next blog, take care. 🙂

 

 

 

Proof of Concept…

My POC did not go how I wanted it to go. I wanted to do something that incorporated a little bit of everything, which  I got to do, but it didn’t feel like I had a goal to strive for. On one end, I was researching marketing strategies, and on the other end, I had a music loop and some sound effects done for a classmate. These were things I was interested in, however I often didn’t feel an urgency to get any of it done, and often procrastinated. This was a great learning opportunity for me however, as it helped me understand what I would do for my big project. For my project, I needed to have a more solid goal to strive for, and something that was a little more “DO”, then researching.

My Big Picture Goals for my project, I will be the lead in Graphic/Music, as well as plot development. I have a much clearer goal set for myself, and will have more work relating to creativity and art, which I like. By the end of my project I hope to complete an amazing video game with quality soundtrack and graphic design.

 

Hello Future!

To me, propel is the start of my future. I can do what I like to do, and can better at the things that I am passionate about. The best part is, I am not on my own. I am surrounded with people who are all passionate about something, and who are willing to be pushed to their limits, and to help push other people along the way.

When I first arrived, I had a huge idea, a big picture, and end goal in mind. The only problem was, I didn’t have a way to get my end goal. I was really stuck on this, I felt like all my plans were slowly becoming just a dream. Time wasn’t being my friend, and I realize that we are already preparing for our proof of concept, where we are introduced into what our project might look like, and what some of our work will accomplish.  I had no idea what I was doing. I could imagine my destination, but could not find my path.

Luckily, Mr. Patrician and Mr. Hansen, genuinely wanted me to find my path. During the first conference, they made me realize that I needed to find the vehicle that would help me get to what I wanted to do and learn. Through lots of talking, they helped steer me closer towards the direction of my project.

After lots of thinking, plenty of ideas, and advice from Mr. P and Mr. H. I decided that I would collaborate with a fellow classmate, Tarren, who has similar interests as me. Tarren was working on creating a video game, and would do most of the coding for it. While working with him, I could pick up some coding skills, work on some music, graphic design, and business skills. All things that I have interest in. This is where I will start my proof of concept. The next two weeks will consist of working with Tarren, and collaborating with other classmates to try and set the vision of his video game into action. I will help put together the direction of the game, while focusing mainly on the marketing side, but getting a taste of the graphic designing, music, collaborating, and everything else that I enjoy doing.

I have high hopes that my proof of concept will help me work towards my future desires, and big picture goals, as the people that I will be working with, are as passionate about what they are doing as I am. I have only been in this program for a short period of time, and I can already tell that it will have a long lasting affect on my future.