Senior Production Part 2 - Getting Back in the Groove

My first week back in the developer lifestyle went about as I expected. While there wasn’t a ton of work to be done, I still hit a few road bumps, both from getting back in the right mindset, and simply familiarizing myself with the code base. To start my week, I did a bit of work on the cel-shader Tales from Space will be using. It’s not very advanced, and will probably get some more love later in development, but it was a good experience in getting familiarized with shaders in Unity. I talked with my artists about whether or not to use bump maps with our models, and we’re leaning towards a no for the time being.

Later in the week, I started thinking more and more about player progression, and how the various parts of it will interact. Ultimately, that’s up to my designers. I attended my first of many design meetings, to get started on those plans. Lastly, I spent some time messing around with our tools for making maps and missions, to get an idea of what’s wrong with them, and could be improved.

As I get started on this week, I’ve started to get a better idea on what role I will be taking this semester. In short, I’ll be working very closely with our team of designers to turn their ideas into reality. I spent a good chunk of this week’s class time chatting with the designer in charge of player progression and weapons. We had a few different ideas, centered around simplifying the progression and unlock systems, to be more in line with the pick-up and play nature of the game. I don’t want to go in-depth on it, as we’ll be meeting tomorrow and finalizing things. But in line with that meeting, I’ll get some work done on player progression. I’ll also be exploring the best ways to serialize some of the data. It’s not too important, but it’ll get me in the right mindset for optimizing our networking.

My other role this week was to make the design tools more accessible to the mission designers. Last week, I realized that the associated documentation seems good, but doesn’t really translate to the actual experience. Especially in terms to few small bugs and kinks that have simple workarounds. Along with clarifying some of the documentation, I’m in the process of putting together a few videos, to walk through the process of making a level from start to finish. I’m actually pretty excited for where I’m going here. It’s a completely different direction from the other work. In addition, I hope it helps me get better at working as a team with designers, rather than as individuals.