Up Ship Creek Post Mortem

Writing these post mortems are becoming easier to write and contrary to the title, they are not a dissection of a project to discover some gruesome graphic cause for its demise, but rather a dissection of a project to discover where we can put a possibly broken thing back together or make it better.

For Up Ship Creek we as a whole class were split up into groups where we had to come up with our own concepts of a board game supplemented with AR and mobile app companion. The concept was based on 1960’s sci fi with three passengers on HMAS AC/DC space ship controlled by an AI. We had to come up with characters, board, game play, rules, AR and companion app uses and interaction as well as plot and scripts. We then came together as a whole group and went through the process of deciding almost each every aspect of the game.

PrototypeShipLayout
Our Groups board layout idea.

Final class board layout.

These are the following issues I found myself encountering whilst working on this project:
⊗ Design Procedure
and
⊗ Attitude

What happened?
I found the design process to a bit tedious and hard to stay interested during some of the decision processes. The main problem was the amount people involved in the design process, which in my humble opinion I found it to be way too many. This meant that there was much time taken up making various decisions about every aspect of the game. Some decisions were easily made but there were many that brought about much discussion and disagreement. Now disagreement and discussion is not the issue, but the amount of time it took to get through these sessions was.
This also caused a lot of confusion which then led to a lot of doubling up in work. I had to write scripts and story plots over and over again as the game ideas changed and I had to then reflect that in the plot and each crisis event as well as AI script. Fortunately due to doing this course and previous experience in previous trimesters I learnt very quickly how to write and adapt my work to fit any game idea changes.

BoardLayout
Final board layout as decided by class consensus. 

Resulted in?
This led to me switching of at times as well as not committing or putting as much work as I usually do. This was a result of an attitude issue which stemmed back from days working in the government when we would regularly have 6 to 8 hour meetings with none or very little result at the end. The design process using the whole class reminded me of those times and honestly it did made me lose focus.

What I did to change my attitude?
It did take me about a period of two weeks to recognize the problem I had and then rectify it with some good old fashioned self talking to. I recognized that I needed to look at the game and design process differently as well as observe more intently the procedure and think of ways that I would have gone about the whole process if I had an overall say.

How do I prevent this from happening again?
Well the easy answer is to say that I wouldn’t get involved in such a group project again but that is not practical and does not solve the issue. If I was involved in such a project, I would strongly advise that we split up the design process into groups which such headings as Board layout, Game mechanics and Rules, Characters, Programming and Play testing. This way there would still be discussions held but they could be controlled more and prevent the process becoming a free for all at times. This method will give each person an idea of how they would operate in the industry as well as enable more effort and concentration on each aspect of the game.
Once these aspects of the game had been decided, I would have then split us up into groups to come up with our own expansion pack ideas.
Conclusion.
It is totally amazing that we have managed to create a pretty cool and interesting game but that’s more to do with our amazing and experienced tutors and guides than our whole group effort. I for one am proud of the result and look forward to continuing to refine the game until production. Even though this was not one of my favorite group projects, it was one that I certainly learnt a lot from.
I would be more than happy and very excited to grab myself a copy of the finished game especially once the graphic designers, film students and actors finish their contributions.

That’s all for this time. Thank you for your company.
Till next time.

Peace and blessings

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