Yeah!! Finally I had successfully made the game Umibozu with 2 months hard work of me and my other 5 group members. I am personally pretty satisfied with the outcome of the game as it is the very first game I’ve ever made and it’s playable (for 6 minutes long!!) At the final playtesting we have received all kinds of feedback from our classmates and a lot of them are positive regarding aesthetics of the game, especially we have gotten quite lot compliments to the art style which I’m really happy about it (cause I’m the artist).
The game we made was a shoot’em up game based on Japanese folklore story about an entity called Umibōzu, a creature that roams in the sea and destroys ships and eats the crew. After 8 weeks working period, my group delivered the project in time with all the features being successfully implemented and the assets being polished. The biggest risk of the game was the feature of having fog covering both enemies and power-ups while the players intends to shoot just the enemies. We had struggled with what types of fog we wanted to make, if it was flowing fog like the ones in real life, but it could be too hard for the programmers to code as we are still in our first year of study. Then we decided to make sprite mask for the fog to cover the objects as it is a feasible way for the artists and programmers to make with the knowledge we have it so far. The sprite mask for the fog turned out to be pretty good in the final game, there are two types of masks with slight differences in the shapes, the players can only tell after they play the game for a while. The mechanics also functioned well and reacted fast without delay issue, the fog mask disappeared on the moment the player shoots the objects. In aspect of art, we have make sure first that all the assets work properly with their functions in game. We used the extra time left before the deadline to polish the assets in order to better, for example we added more frames to the enemies animation that they could look more smooth and nature when they moves.
By working this project, I have learned new knowledge and skills not only in my area as an artist, but also tons of things when it comes to working as a group. As an artist, I have enhanced my skills of animation-making that I could applied what I learned from the parallax course “Expression and 2D Graphics for Games 2” to the game Umibozu. I was responsible for all the animation of enemies. It required a lot research work before starting making my own animation. The best way to master one thing is to imitate at first and then to practice it thousand time. For example, the moving shark animation I have made for our game, I googled pictures of all kinds of sharks like both real shark pictures and shark drawings before I started sketching. I also watched many videos like national geography documentaries on Youtube just to get an idea how sharks move properly in the water. I would not be confident about the outcome of my work if I was not well prepared and studied.
The game making process was not a smooth sailing, the team has experienced different stages of difficulties in this journey. This team was randomly assigned by the teachers in the beginning. I’ m sure not only us had the problem which it took a while to get familiar with and used to each other’s personalities and working styles, but also many other groups had same difficulties. The run-in period lasted about 1 month, in this period we had some miscommunication when came to decision-making. Some members have stronger personalities while some are quite passive people. As this was the very first game project we worked as group, it happens sometimes the positions in group can be misplaced due to different personalities and lack of experience. For example, if a programmer in the group has stronger personality while the project manager has passive personality, the programmer might be exceeded to project manager’s authority which will lead to various problems in the group. When we realized the communication problem in the group could affect our game-making that it brought unpleasant emotions to the members and in result of slowing down the working pace. Therefore, we attended Finn’s meeting to talk through the problems and seek for solution. The project manager had also arranged a small meeting with the members who had issues with.
After that, I personally felt much better atmosphere within the group and we could be focused more on the project itself that being more professional as a Game designer. Even it was somewhat unpleasant when something like this happened in a group. However, we shouldn’t let this hinder from us moving forward in making games in the future. We all gonna meet many more new people as our collages to work with once we step in the industry. There will be no time to complain or chance to change collages as easy as to change groups in the school. It is important to learn to adjust ourselves and find efficient way to solve it as soon possible if there is something similar happens again in the future. And communication is always the No.1 when comes to group working.
I’m here and want to thank again for my group members Thomas, Mija, Samuel, Emile and Marie who have made the project successfully together. I really appreciate the effort you have put in on our “Umibozu”. And a special thanks to another artist Marie Colin, I know I had deficiencies as being a lead artist, and thank for taking extra work for me when I had PM to rewrite. It was a good memory that I will cherish in the future as a game designer. In the end, I would like to put two screenshots from our game to show a part of work we did for the last two months.