Platform: Tablet · Engine: Unity · Team Size: 5 · Timetable: Three months
The Grove is a tablet game designed by One Eye Studios. It is a puzzle adventure game in which the player guides the maiden Kiki and her spirit friend Koto through The Grove solving puzzles in both the light realm and the spirit realm. I was the programmer for this project in addition to handling planning and documentation. This was the first team game my team had worked on at SMU Guildhall. I worked on features like changing between worlds, character movement, and obstacle elimination (rock smashing and firefly scattering).
Contributions and Tools
Role: Assistant Lead, Lead Programmer
- Programmed major features of The Grove including:
- Character movement
- Menu / UI features
- Obstacle removal
- Kept up with Game Design Document
- Worked with Game Designer to bring game feature to life
- Resolved personnel conflicts
- Facilitated group feedback sessions
- Performed Scrum master duties
Documentation and Downloads
ASSESSMENT: Personnel role Conflicts
MANAGEMENT: Diffuse situation, Identify Roles
Method: Pulling teammates for One-on-Ones
Very early in the project we had a conflict between two members of the team. There was a miscommunication about what the role of each individual was. I took each member out of the room and identified where communication was breaking down. After talking to both parties and helping to clarify roles in the context of the team, the two individuals settled in to a productive and collaborative relationship for the remainder of the project.
ASSESSMENT: Communication of Coding standards
MANAGEMENT: teach coding standards
Method: Pair Programming with Level designers
As lead programmer I was able to set the coding standards for the team. In order to better spread out the workload I identified coding tasks that level designers could address. I sat with each of our level designers and pair programmed through some of these tasks to teach the standards and maintain progress. The result of these pair programming sessions was the level design department doing more programming so I could focus on integral features.
ASSESSMENT: Lacking team culture
MANAGEMENT: Cultivate positive candid team culture
Method: Facilitate In-Person guided feedback sessions
Part of the Guildhall curriculum is the completion of anonymous peer evaluations at the end of each sprint. The personnel conflicts that we had early in the project revealed a need for more open and honest communication. I scheduled time at the end of each sprint for us to sit in a circle and give feedback face to face. It became part of the team culture and the team relished the opportunities to improve themselves and their teammates.
ASSESSMENT: Screen effect too expensive
MANAGEMENT: measure performance and cut/keep feature
Method: Optimize, test on tablet, cut if necessary
In The Grove, the player presses a button to switch between two different worlds. I wrote a shader for the transition with the help of an outside programmer to add a ripple effect to the transition. I noticed performance problems on tablet. After trying to work through the problems, I was unable to increase performance to an acceptable level. I informed everyone and cut the feature to focus on more important issues facing the team.