• Breakout Postmortem (Frank Stella)

Production and Management

Introduction

This was a project while studying at the institution SAE Quantum. In this project, I was given an artist (Frank Stella) and had to somehow incorporate his work/ethics into the arcade game 'Breakout' to make a new and original game.

What Went Right?

Design

When I was given this project I was unsure who Frank Stella was and what his art looked like. From doing research about him and his pieces, I found out that his work had a deeper meaning to it rather than meaning through what it looks like. This is what entranced me about his pieces and what I tried to incorporate into my game, which I believe I was successful at. Instead of making a game about the design of his art, I instead went with the ideals based around why he did this piece in the first place, which made a different game then I was excepting to do.

Play Testing

Going into playtesting I was eager to be given feedback on my game and didn't know what to except. From this experience, I was given good feedback that ultimately helped me to understand multiple issues that I needed to change in my game, for example, the ball bouncing, camera transition. Not only was I given constructive criticism, but given new ideas that I could do to achieve my goal of putting Frank Stella's ideals into my game. I got ideas like, add music, add sound effects, change camera 1 to a proper breakout game with colour. These ideas changed my game in many ways. I believe due to all the information I was given that playtesting was a huge success and allowed me to learn the mistakes and fix when while incorporating new ideas into my game.

Learning New Skills

Whenever you do something that you haven't done before you learn more skills that you once didn't know and doing my 'Breakout' game is no exception. Throughout this experience, I learned a whole lot of new skills especially in understanding the way Unity work and in coding. Due the the fact that I'm still not confident in both using Unity and coding, I was able to push myself to become more proficient at these skills. Coding, for example, I would do my absolute best to try to work out what code I needed or why I was getting an error instead of going straight online to get help. Even when I did go online I went to 'Unity Code Helper' instead of googling how to do this certain thing to try. Through this, I believe I have become more proficient at skills which was a goal I set for myself.

What Went Wrong?

Time

When we were given this project, we were told that we had 4 weeks to finish it. When starting this trimester we were also told that we needed to do 18 hours of work per week to get everything done by it's due date. This is something that I didn't take into hand until the end of the second week. After the second week was about to end, I realized that I was far behind the rest of the people in the class. They already had a major playtest and I wasn't close. Due to this, I had to try and catch up by going over the recommended 18 hours but even doing that only made my catch up to where the class was and overall forced me to leaves things out that I was hoping to put in but couldn't. From this experience, I've learned the meaning of staying head by putting in the hours.

Unexperienced

When I was given this project to work on and was told that I only had 4 weeks to do it, the first thing that came to my mind was, "Am I able to do this?" Before this project, the only proper experience I had was working on another project for uni called 'It's a Blob' last year and that was a group project that went for 13 weeks. This played a huge factor in getting work done. Throughout this experience, whenever I needed to add code that wasn't very basic I had to use Unity's Code Helper to help to find the right code I needed to use. This slowed the production time down a lot which overall meant I wasn't able to put in/fix everything that I intended to.

Conclusion

Ultimately, I'm happy with what I have achieved throughout this experience. I've learned a lot of skills and put them into practice meaning for future games I will be more equipped with knowledge that I can lean on when designing and making them. Even though the game isn't 100% perfect I believe it's a good stepping stone to what comes next.

Data Box

Game – Minimalist Breakout
Developer – Robert D'Antoni
Release Date – 21/06/2018
Platforms – PC, Mac (Itch.io) - https://robert-dantoni.itch.io/miniamlist-breakout
Number of Developers – 1 (Student)
Length of Development (4 Weeks)

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