Alpha

A lot of preparation went into Alpha, but no matter how much I prepare I always think we could have done better. On my end, my video animatic was okay, but I could have been more detailed with it. I’m disappointed because the footage my friend filmed of us had poor sound quality for our lead designer because the microphone was rubbing against the fabric of her shirt. I’ve asked my sound designer to rent a camera and sound equipment from Champlain so we’ll be able to do another recording as soon as possible. Luckily the final video isn’t due until about a month from now, but I don’t want to delay on it because I know I’ll have to put in the gameplay footage last minute. If I can get the interviews polished early it’ll give me a lot of time to weave the interviews and gameplay footage to make Kanji Samurai an exciting Senior Team reel. For the Alpha stage I had to layout the format of the video. I’m going to start with gameplay footage to provide context, then get into some interviews about the inspirations behind the game and it’s art. I also plan to overlay some relevant images of the artwork, and footage of the gameplay and maybe our team working. I have some footage I included in the animatic of me asking my team “When’s the last time you looked at the project plan” and them all pausing and then some laughing in response. It’s pretty humourous and the class laughed but I haven’t decided if I really want to include it or not.

Our game didn’t have to be feature complete for Alpha stage, but it did have to be able to be played from start to finish. We have planned 10 levels for our game and currently have implemented 4 of them. We have all the Kanji planned out for the levels, but failed to implement them in time for Alpha. My team has reassured me that the remaining levels will be implemented by Wednesday. In our Alpha review, Professor Manly said we need to instill more “juiciness” into our game. He said it felt too static. I knew what he meant. It wasn’t rewarding the player enough for their successes. We had a lot of nice art, but we need more particle effects and small animations to really sell the experience. I’m currently talking to my team about implementing the slash motion for selecting buttons like in Fruit Ninja as Prof. Manly suggested, rather than simply tapping the buttons.

This weekend we are meeting in the labs to discuss how to make our game more juicy. Then the rest of the meeting will be a work session. I hope that by all working in the same location we will be greater motivated to get things done. Last weekend we had a low key meeting at my apartment to make team t-shirts for the Senior Show and reaffirm our goals for Alpha. I think my mistake was not scheduling a meeting between that Saturday and Wednesday’s Alpha milestone. I’m looking forward to working in the game industry full time so I can focus all my energy on game development. It can be challenging to manage our game development capstone alongside our other classes and responsibilities. Working in the same room more frequently will make us more efficient I think. We’ll have instant access to each other for discussion and can collaborate work more effectively. Beta is in two weeks and I intend to lead my team to meeting all our milestones!

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