An update from Trevor, a member of the Guildhall at SMU team blogging for Gamasutra:
The Day Ice Cream Stood Still is a 2D platforming puzzle game that was designed using the TorqueX 2D editor by a five-student team from The Guildhall at SMU. The game took ten weeks, using 60-hour man weeks from concept to completion and was developed for the PC using a console controller.
This following is the post-mortem for The Day Ice Cream Stood Still. The Classic Mistakes in reference to Rapid Development by Steve McConnell describe what went well, what went wrong, and what we as a team learned from the development.
What Went Well:
1. Avoiding Classic Mistake #1: Undermined Motivation
If one thing was true of the development team, from the very beginning they acted as a team and not as individuals, always motivating each other to better the game. The team often times inspected the work of others, while giving constructive criticism, the team always remained very positive towards each other and always working to uplift one another.
Communication between team members was very efficient between everyone. All members knew how the game was progressing in all disciplines. This is in part due to using Daily Scrums at every meeting, but even when the team was not gathered, emails informing the team of current progress were very common.
2. Avoiding Classic Mistake #20: Shortchanged Upstream Activities
This team was new to video game design, and shortchanging upstream activities was very tempting to all the developers. It would have been much easier to not worry about the design of how pieces of the game were going to come together. The “cross that bridge when we get there” mentality was always lingering. However, the team followed protocol and did not cut anything that was necessary which was essential to the game’s development.
3. Avoiding Classic Mistake #29: Feature Creep
In the beginning of development many features and mechanics were discussed and most of which the team wanted to put into the game but we stuck with a specific set of features and mechanics to implement. As progress continued, other features came about that some wanted to implement but as a team we discussed the possible ramifications of adding such features, most were mutually rejected but through these discussions, important features we decided were necessary for gameplay were added.
What Went Wrong:
1. Encountering Classic Mistake #22: Shortchanged Quality Assurance
Through all the team’s attempts to make as best a game they could. Too much time was spent on developing and not enough time was spent on actually testing the game with anyone who would be willing. This mean the game was essentially built in a sort of vacuum. While the team did their best to gain feedback, especially near the end of development where they began testing with anyone, not enough testing was spent in the early stages of development.
2. Encountering Classic Mistake #4: Heroics
As discussed earlier the team was highly motivated making this game and wanted to see many features in the game while meeting required deadlines. To appease ourselves with our work, the team pulled many heroics to achieve the kind of quality The Day Ice Cream Stood Still had. This not only affected our ability to hold the project together at times as well as our overall productivity decreasedas team members became tired and easily distracted through lack of sleep.
3. Encountering Classic Mistake #14: Overly Optimistic Schedules
The team through sheer positivity hurt itself in the end by being overly optimistic during the planning phase. The team was determined that all the tasks listed were going to be completed, which led to the previous “What Went Wrong” topics.
Overall, making The Day Ice Cream Stood Still was a fantastic experience that I would not trade for anything. The team accomplished precisely what it set out to do that is, build a fun 2D game for the masses.
Additionally we learned many important lessons from the development. Communication is incredibly important in development projects. The importance of motivation between team members for the project to complete, The Day Ice Cream Stood Still would not be what it is without the motivation from team members.
The Day Ice Cream Stood Still is a completed demo of a 2D platformer with three fully fleshed out levels that are all incredibly fun and challenging. The game was voted Best Original Art out of five other great candidates and was shown at exhibition at The Guildhall at SMU!
Developed by: Team One Scoop
Trevor Hilz – Assistant Producer
Hieu Vu – Lead Level Designer
Natan Golynskiy – Level Designer
Anthony Stogner – Lead Artist
Chatchai Wangwiwattana – Lead Programmer