What did I do?
I worked with Claudia to create a 4 player local co-op game called Hurry Hurry Heal Me. My main responsibility was the code and making sure everything worked in unity. I also spent time: project managing, level and environment designing, testing, web designing and marketing, among a couple of other smaller tasks.
My main accomplishments are:
- Showcasing the game at Norwich Gaming Festival
- A working, bug free demo of the game.
- Mapping the nintendo Switch controllers for Unity.
- Finishing the demo to the expected deadline.
- A well balanced level progression system.
- A unique website that is responsive and minified.
- An exciting promotional video.
How well did it go?
A lot of time was spent at the beginning of the project, mapping out how long everything would take and setting realistic deadlines. This proved to be exceedingly useful, for as a team we were able to meet these internal deadline which allowed us time to do things on top of what we had set out to do such as go to the Norwich Gaming Festival.
Having an overview from the outset, meant that we were able to stop working on problem pieces of code or animation when the deadline came around. This meant that some features were not implemented, such as the colour mixing mechanics, but by putting these mechanics on hold it meant we could have a working bug free game by the end of the project.
As a team we managed our tasks weekly by having a kanban board which was permanently on display on the wall in front of us. This helped us keep on task and to easily work out if we were ahead or behind schedule. This worked very well, as it made it obvious what each team member was doing, and allowed easy dialogue on what to do next through weekly meetings.
The code I had to do was broken down into small chucks so that I had a manageable amount of time each week to learn something and implement the new code. The code was completely re-written about 3 times over the last 3 months due to my understanding of c# and unity dramatically increasing. Each time the code was re-written it became easier to de-bug and allowed me to access the right variables to make level design and testing much easier.
By the end of the coding I could edit all the variables I needed through the Unity editor rather than accessing any code. This made changing the difficulty of levels on the fly, when testing, particularly easy. This allowed me to iterate the difficulty of levels super fast, so by the end of 2 days of testing I had a working level progression for the first 5 levels. The levels proved to be the right difficulty at Norwich Gaming Festival as people would continued to play through to the last level without failing but still being engaged with the game play.
What would I do differently?
At the beginning of the project I spent a bit of time mapping out what functionality I wanted in the game, this was really helpful to get me started with the code, but it would have been more useful to have spent a little longer working out the hierarchy of functions and the relationship between certain variables and scripts. By not doing this it meant I had to rewrite the code from scratch a couple of times to change around the way I had structured the code.
Another pain point in the project was when I lost confidence in my ability to code. I had made a working prototype, but I was stuck on how to add the colour mechanics, so I asked one of my lectures for help. He decided it would be better for him to write all the code instead, this left me feeling that I was unable to write code and it took a lot of liaising as a team in order to get me back to where I was happy to do the coding again. I think it would have been better for me to keep struggling through the code by designing the scripts on paper and expanding my knowledge of different methods of coding used in unity. It would have been hard work, but I think if I had stuck with it, I may not have lost 3 weeks of work.
Where to go next?
Hurry Hurry Heal Me has proved itself to be an engaging game with the wider community through the interest shown at the Norwich Gaming Festival. It would be good to find a publisher to help us push it forwards, or maybe a crowd funding campaign. The next steps are to show case it at a couple more events and see how much interest there is in the game. Also, we would love to contact Nintendo and to see if they wanted to help us release the game as well, as the nintendo switch would be the perfect family party platform to release a game like this on.
It has been great working with Claudia and on such a fun project, it would be good to see if we can continued working on it (to some degree) after university.