Studio 2, Project 1 - Post Mortem

This is a post mortem for the solo Studio 2 minor project; Take it Personally. Where I designed and prototyped a game based around a real life experience.

One of the main problems with the project was probably the project plan. After around the half way mark of the project, I never really saw myself sticking to it. Whenever I completed a milestone I would tick it off as if it was a checklist and not a strict deadline. This was probably due to the fact that the project plan I done was a simple one. The layout just had the due date, task and location of completion. There was no complexity in the plan which made the milestones seem almost "in the air". No estimated time to complete, none of the specifics a part from the due date. Also another factor, is probably because it seemed kinda unnecessary. Since this is a small project and I was working on it by myself, having a full project plan didn't seem that important. If it was a team environment with at least one more person on a larger project then sure, a project plan would be necessary. It just seemed that for something this small, I was more concentrated on the project, than meeting up with the plan. A way to fix this would of course be to make it more detailed. More specifics on how long a task'll to take to complete, how will that improve/affect the project, what are the outcomes, what's the scheduled time for work? All the specifics which will make each task seem more grounded and written in stone, rather than floating around and not a necessity to complete on the assigned time.

Testing was something that I wish I done more of. In my project plan, I tasked up testing to begin on Monday of week 4. We didn't get around to it until Wednesday of week 5. Although I did do some form of testing between the 2 weeks with friends, yet taking down their complaints was just stored in my head and changed at the time. I didn't record them to see what was happening on screen, and questions asked weren't designed in a way to fix a specific problem. Then came around the official testing. We had the first hour of Wednesday, week 4 to test our prototypes. I had around 5 people test mine and in the end, came out with some good data. Improvements were made, yet they didn't really seem to change the game that much. Ideally, more testing sessions would be the way to go. I believe that me leaving it late to test, halted progress that could have been made on the design of the game. Fixing this would involve having regular testing sessions. Maybe after the prototype is ready to be played, have a testing session twice a week. This will give me enough time to make changes to the design, as well as the questionnaire to focus it on a more important part of the design. Improving the project plan would also make these testing sessions more important and a date set, rather than a suggestion.

Something that went pretty good, was the prototype. The main goal of the project was to design a game and create a rough prototype. I ended up making something that could be seen more as a flushed out product than a prototype. This was because I spent quite a lot of time early on doing the design document. This then gave me quite a bit of time to create the prototype, which I did do. I had a prototype, yet with time remaining I just kept on adding in details and other things. Coloured materials, better lighting, music, sound effects, etc. Since Unity is a program that i'm familiar with, adding these things in wasn't a problem and I believe it improved the impression of people when testing. Having a more flushed out product for a testing session, provided the tester with a better understanding of the intended experience, and focused their feelings more on what you wanted them to feel. For the future if I want to do something like this again, working hard on the GDD early is a big must. Then an art bible, which I done early on cemented the visual look that I was going for. Giving yourself enough time to make a working prototype first, then adding more features/juice if the time allows is how I would go again with it.