Capstone – Final Reflection

Where am I now? 

These past few years attending Champlain College, I truly have developed the skills necessary to manage diverse teams of different sizes. When I first got to Champlain College, I had managed projects before, but none to the same skill and dedication as here. Since coming here, I have obtained agile project methodologies which have become industry standard. This includes the Scrummaster Certification as well as the Product Owner Certification; both taught by Clinton Keith.

Interpersonal conflicts have been something hard to learn how to solve, but I have been able to navigate these complicated situations throughout my different game projects thanks to mentors such as Ben Wiley.

I have also learned industry leading project management software solutions such as Redmine while in Burlington, and Jira/Confluence while in Montreal abroad. When looking for jobs to apply to, these are the most often listed requirements for a producer.

This semester, what started as an exploration into virtual reality turned into a highly polished concept with exceptional execution called Camera Shy.

What did I do?

In Camera Shy, the player looks for hidden objects in a room scale environment using their polaroid camera to take pictures and hang them on the wall on photo frames. The player also unlocks unique lenses that let them see the world differently to unlock more hidden objectives.

As the producer, I worked hard on documentation to prove the potential market for a game like this. It was challenging since virtual reality is such a new audience to cater for. What I quickly discovered was the game we were making had the potential to open virtual reality to a whole new group of people. Specifically, the 25+ crowd who doesn’t necessarily have their own headset currently. After realizing our market, documentation was much easier to write.

I also made sure the team worked well together. This included planning and executing on weekly sprints. Each Friday, the team would come together while I facilitated which features should be implemented for that week to get the best progress towards a completed game.

Throughout the week, I would make sure the communication stayed up in our communication platforms while having Mattermost daily scrums as well as weekly work meetings.

What went well?

After the initial confusion of what the project would become, we ended up on a serious grind. Week after week we were iterating on not only the design and programming of the camera, but also the art and environment. I was so proud of the team members for their dedication and hard work even when things were not going as planned. We got to attend the games testing labs several times and got overwhelmingly positive feedback on the game even from students. This helped inform the design and realize we were on the right path. We ended up with a full game loop for mid-mortems. This included a tutorial with voice acting and a full level for players to go through with two unique lenses that would get unlocked the more objectives the player completed successfully.

What could have been better?

From the start, the team struggled with communication. As with any forming team, finding the right communication practices is key to the success of the project. Each week, we worked on improving communication by implementing daily scrum in the Mattermost, and also by enacting more work meetings. Team members were really great at showing up on time and motivated to work, so that was never an issue. We could have gotten our communication improved sooner, and I wish I was more on top of my game at the beginning of the semester to encourage better communication.

Another issue was some members not getting as many hours as they should have early on. I should have approached these members earlier in the semester to find out the root cause and make a solution. Everything ended up getting resolved, but I still wish I did a better job at identifying and solving this team conflict.

Conclusion

All the work from this semester and my college career so far ensures my future will be what I’ve always dreamed of. By going here and taking risks, I have made myself the best producer I can be. I still have lots to learn, but I believe I now have the tools to succeed in the real world.