What Did We Do?
Final project part one consists of roughly 6 weeks of pitching and polishing an idea for a project, where the rest of the project is creating a prototype to get all the work ready for next trimester. During these past 6 weeks, we have worked as a team to get an idea and presentation ready to start working on the game. We had meetings regularly both within the team and within the game designers to try and get as good of a product as possible.
What Went Well?
During our process of pitching and presenting, We have all been very transparent and honest in our communication. We have raised issues and discussed them with each other, and we have had meetings regularly to make sure that everyone is on the same page. We have had meetings discussing feedback we've received and what changes to make, and we have had meetings to rehearse the pitch and go through the presentation to make sure everyone knows what to say.
Our pitching in front of class were very structured and clear. We spoke loud and made sure to detail as much as we could, highlighting all key features and levels. Everyone talked about a specific point of the project, making sure that everyone sounds engaged.
Why Did It Go Well?
When working in such a big team as we are, it is important to make sure you know exactly what everyone is doing and that it will be done on time. A big part of why I think we succeeded so well on this point, is partially because we had a lot of trust in each other that we can finish our work and make something great. It was also because we made sure to pick an idea that everyone would be happy working on, and in that we find everyone being enthusiastic about showing up to the meetings and discussing what we've done and can do.
After we had pitched twice, we noticed that our way of pitching sounded very improvised and unstructured. Because of this, we decided to have a script that we read off of. This also allowed us to rehearse every day before class to make sure everyone knew and could agree on what was being said.
How To Make Sure It Happens Again
For a project like this, where you've worked together with the majority of the people in your cohort, you know which ones to trust in doing the work that is required. Part of why our team in general was so successful was because we had all worked together in one project or another before, and we know each others strengths. You can trust each other to show up on meetings and get work done. It is also easier to communicate with people you know well.
However, for projects where this isn't the case, having a strong project manager that makes sure that things get done, that frequently looks through all work that we've done and checks what is remaining to be done helps a lot. It is important to keep the morale of all teammates as high as possible and include everyone so that no one is left out.
Having set dates for meetings is also a good idea, in that case everyone can make time for the meeting and make sure to show up on time.
If you want your pitch to do well, it is important to ask for feedback. Especially if you're pitching several times after one another, as this was the case here. The script writing was also very useful as it allowed us to review each others lines and comment on them before the actual pitch.
What Went Bad?
When trying to come up with an idea for our game it was very difficult for us to try and find out how to come up with an idea everyone would get something out of. Graphic design and audio was simple, but for the game designers it was tougher. We also had trouble finding a time for meetings where everyone was available.
Why Did It Go Bad?
Mainly our team size made it difficult for us to come up with ideas and meetings. When having 4 game designers trying to figure an idea out that everyone gets something out of, a lot of ideas that 3/4 designers like get tossed away. This is also why meetings was an issue. You have to find a time on a day where no one has work or an activity, and we had to do this approximately 3 times a week because of all the meetings we had.
How To Make Sure It Doesn't Happen Again
I would say pick a team with less teammates, but that is not always the case. The main reason that our team has managed to get meetings together is because we've all been participating in trying to find a time for meetings. We assisted in taking the burden off of the project manager's back and called for our own meetings where we all look through documents and iterate on feedback.
As for the difficulty of coming up with ideas, it's always important that you try to make everyone feel included, however that will not always work. Working with friends often makes the roles of project manager and creative lead sort of fade off a bit, as everyone discuss the ideas as friends and no one holds real authority over the others, and that can cause ideas to become harder to decide as no one really goes "No. We're doing this". I'm not saying that you should completely ignore the requests of your teammates, especially not in a smaller indie team, but it's important that someone takes the wheel and decides in benefit for everyone.
The pitching process has been a joy to work on. I am in a great team that all are capable of working and showing progress, as well as turn up to meetings and raise issues or questions. We always were confident in our ability to do the presentation and we never doubted that we could create a great product together. Although we've had our troubles because of our team size, we make up for it in enthusiasm and interest.
Thank you for reading this post mortem. Stay tuned for more posts regarding Beat Burglar.