Week 14 - Meeting and Working With Teammates
While as a team we meet to go over what everyone has been working on and will be doing, the best thing for a project is to meet with teammates frequently to work together. We meet as a full team twice a week to plan the sprints and to keep everyone on the same page. However, with such a large team (10 members), it is difficult to fit everything that we need to talk about in an hour long meeting and we cannot go over time because everyone has busy schedules. As a result, a lot of topics are either not talked about enough or left in confusion. To try to alleviate the time pressure, within disciplines, we schedule our own smaller meetings.
Every week, we have had designer meetings to go over different aspects of the game and to clear any inconsistencies that arise. These meetings are always beneficial because we get a more clear direction for the game and keep the design coherent. These typically are not work sessions, but we do go over each other’s work and give critiques. With these meetings, we get to hear different design perspectives and thought processes, analyzing the design in many different ways and improving it further. One issue we have encountered regarding the design meetings is effectively communicated the decisions or any changes to the rest of the team. The timing of our meetings is challenging with the order of the rest of our meetings (our sprint planning meeting is Monday nights with the design meeting on Tuesday mornings and the next full team meeting on Saturdays). With the design meeting happening after planning the sprint, we are always behind in conveying the design to the team in person. While we try to discuss it through documents and our team chat, I have found that scheduling small group meetings is the most effective way to keep the team on the same page.
Meeting with other people working on the same thing is very important, but it is also necessary to meet with the other disciplines (art and programming) for development to go smoothly. Within the second week on the new team and realizing how many questions we had for each other, I have been meeting with Grace weekly, the environment artist for the project. With my main design focus on this game being level design and having a strong background in Unity, I can not only help her with importing art into Unity and our version control since she is unfamiliar but also answer any questions she has about creating the assets for the level, keeping her from needing to redo pieces in case they ended up being what wasn’t needed. In turn, if there is an asset that is missing that I need when making the level, like a version of a corner wall piece, she is right next to me to quickly make the asset and send to me immediately.
Additionally, we have met in larger groups such as all of the designers and artists to go over the lighting in the game to better portray the anxiety-inducing experience that we want or all of the designers, artists, and programmers to decide how we will do animations for different things (especially since no one on the team is an animator).
Working closely and consistently with teammates can help improve your own skills and the game by getting critique that will improve both and will make the development process easier by keeping people from doing unnecessary extra work and preventing any stalls in progressing the workflow.