Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Project Management

In deciding which method to use for project management, we settled easily on an Agile process. Most of us have had experience with Agile and it seems to work very well.We are using 1-week long sprints and slicing up tasks into smaller tasks which can reasonably be completed within one sprint.

Our team has decided to use Asana for project and sprint management. It is a great web-based software that is absolutely free!

Asana in action
Asana has greatly helped us organize tasks and responsibilities as well as communicate quickly about important issues. Using a project management software is much more effective than simply using email or trying to keep track of things by hand.

Attraction Update:
Things are rolling along quite well and we just completed our first sprint! The following were done during sprint 1:

  • Menu system
  • Level XML serialization/deserialization
  • Basic level editor
Not bad for one week! This shows the power of dedicated team members and a good use of the Agile process.

For sprint 2 look forward to some actual level development and gameplay! Happy Halloween everyone!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Entity System Architecture

Things are rolling along smoothly and in our team meetings we are pinning down a lot of important aspects of the game. One of those is the architecture we will be using for development in XNA. We will still be using the Farseer Physics engine but instead of an object-oriented approach, we will be using an entity-system approach. This seems to be the standard in most game shops and I am excited to become more proficient at it. Here are some links that illustrate ES:

Evolve Your Hierarchy
Entity System vs. OO Game Engine

Andrew has experience with this architecture and is helping to bring the rest of us up to speed.

For version control we are using git and TortoiseGit.

Things to watch for that are being worked on this week

  • Level Editor
  • Tool for modifying game constants during run time and see changes in real time
  • Menu System
  • Improved controls
After being sick all of fall break, I am ready to get to work. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

We Have Been Chosen

Yesterday Professors Bob and Roger announced the three games that were chosen for production. They shared some feedback from the panel of industry professionals and it was rather insightful. Apparently none of the games piqued their collective interest enough to warrant a stamp of approval. I seem to remember that one of the panel members announced to Bob and Roger, "You shouldn't make any of these games." Well, thus we observe one of the benefits of indie development: we get to make a game that, at first glance, isn't appealing to AAA pros.

Cutting to the chase, our game, Attraction, was chosen! Along with Heroes of Rock and Ninja Royale, we received various team members from the other now-disbanded groups. Maybe I'm biased, but I feel we received the cream of the crop. We received some amazing talent and have a solid dev team. The following makes up our roster for the newly expanded Team Salty:

Kyle Chittenden - Team Lead
Becky Pennock - Art Lead
Jon Humphries - Design Lead
Brendan Wanlass - Engineering Lead
Tyson Anderson - Engineer
Paige Ashlynn - Engineer
David Hurst - Engineer
Andrew Jones - Engineer
Cory Haltinner - Artist
Evan Munro - Artist
Diana Ngo - Artist

We have a solid gameplay mechanic and are now designing theme, narrative and artistic style. I have no doubt that we will make a game that will surprise some of the nay-sayers and garner some interest in the indie community.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Out of our Hands

Yesterday all 8 teams presented their games to a panel of industry professionals. All 8 teams did a great job and I honestly have no idea which games will get picked. I have a few in mind that I think won't get picked, but then again, I'm not so sure. I would, of course, love for our game to be picked. If that doesn't happen, however, there are a couple other games which I believe have great potential and would be happy to work on.

We find out tomorrow which 2 or 3 games will actually be developed. We meet our new teams and begin jamming on ideas. This is huge. I will be working on this game and with these people for countless hours over the next ~8 months. I trust Bob and Roger's judgement and I'm sure all the teams will have a chance to make a great game.

Keep your fingers crossed!