BlueFalconLoyd

Members
  • Content count

    16
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

128 Neutral

About BlueFalconLoyd

  • Rank
    Member
  1. Steps to manage a large project

    My personal experience derives from that of the Enterprise level, and less of the Independent developer level. Having said that any project that's looking to be taken seriously starts with good project management. It's just as important as the development itself as, if executed correctly, can save the team time, money, and resources. Based on this, I'll list my preferences when managing a project as well as some things that may help you down the road. [list] [*][b]Legalities[/b]: This may seem a mundane task when first venturing into game development, but as your project moves on, it will be one of the most important processes - and you'll be glad you covered it. A Non-Disclosure Agreement(NDA) should be signed by each of the members of the project. This states that intellectual property remains that of the project itself, and that trade secrets aren't lifted from the project and taken to another to profit from. You can find several examples of NDAs online for guidance on how these should be treated. It may also be beneficial, depending on your budget for the project, to seek legal aid before finishing up production on the product itself. You'll also want to cover compensation clauses with your team members so that they're fully aware of what they will gain by participating in the work that is going on in the project. [/list] [list] [*][b]Feasibility[/b] - Since you have a team in place already, a feasibility assessment of where your team currently stands within it's technical abilities and what it hopes to gain, knowledge-wise, throughout the duration of the project will help you in determining just how complex the scope of the project can be. Finding out team members strengths and weaknesses will go far in deciding what type of game you want to create, what platform it will be on, what features it will include, etc. This will also help in allocating the correct resources for each task on your project schedule. [/list] [list] [*][b]Project Scope/Market Research[/b] - After determining what's realistically feasible to do with the team you currently have, you'll want to start brainstorming what type of project you'll want to start. The Project Scope is a 1,000 foot bird's eye view of the Project itself. Planning what type of game, what codebase, what engine, what platform, key features, etc. is what will go into this. You'll also want to do some market research based on your ideas. Is there a want for this type of game?, how large is the market segment for this type of game on this platform?, Is this genre trending currently?, Will this be available on a local, national, or international level?. All of these will shape the Project Scope and will need to be addressed prior to fleshing out your project. [/list] [list] [*][b]Budget [/b]- Even if you plan on creating the project with the bare-bone essentials when it comes to monetary value, most likely you will run into some portion of the project which requires expenditures. Whether it's software licenses, requests for team training, trademarking, legal fees, contracted help, etc. You'll want to make quoted figures on any parts of the project that may cost you in some way. This will allow you to foresee any events that may arise in which you otherwise would not be aware. Once you get into the development phase of the project you want to make sure that nothing road-blocks you from keeping on task and finishing the project. Budgets are usually the one road-block that can place a project on hold indefinitely. [/list] [list] [*][b]Project Planning[/b]- My absolute favorite part of any project. Project Planning is where you make your money. Simply put, it's the process of managing your resources, time, and the overall health of the project by splitting the project up into "tasks". In doing so, everyone on the team understands what's going on currently with the project, what their particular job function is at the time, what everyone else's job function is, what's next on their list, what resources are currently tied up, and what will be the next steps after their task is finished. Remember in Programming 101 where your professor/teacher asked you to name the steps it takes, in detail, to create a PB&J sandwich. That's essentially what you're doing - but for a much more complicated tasks. You'll want to take your Project Scope that you created previously and start listing all the bits and bytes of what will need to be done from start to finish, then assign resources(aka your team) to those tasks. It's important to note that a good project plan will never have a team member sitting and waiting for something to do. Each team member will always be engaged with a task, and know what their next task will be in case they finish early. A good investment during this portion would be a Project Management application. Microsoft Project 2010 is what I currently use, though there are other options available if this is not in your budget. Some notable collaboration applications that can be found for online use are BaseCamp, Wunderkit, and TeamLab. I've included a screenshot of an example project I'm currently working on for work, to help showcase what I'm speaking of in the above paragraphs. [url="http://s17.postimage.org/rb79wz0xb/project_development.png"]http://s17.postimage...development.png[/url] [/list] [list] [*][b]Development[/b]- I'm sure many will disagree with me here, but I do not believe in creating a Game Design Document prior to the Development Phase. This should be incorporated with the development phase as brain-storming, writing of the storyline from your writers, specific hardware specifications from your infrastructure team, etc. The Game Design Documents that I've viewed in the past are specific step-by-step of what every item is, what every spell is, etc prior to any development being done. I state this due to Game Development and Design being dynamic. Things WILL change in that design document and it's much better to parse this out at certain periods during the task/resource allocation of the Project Planning than to mess with it prior to initiation of development. Your Project Plan should be just as agile as your design of the game. In doing so, making sure that you've not only allocated the correct amount of time for each task, but that you've extended that by a certain % to allow for changes within the plan itself is imperative to this type of design. Before you know it, you'll be managing your project like a pro - and when something unexpected comes up you'll be able to calculate to a "T" what it will take to get the project back on track and being able to positively mark what, if any, resources you've lost. That being said, the development process should fall in line with what's currently being tasked to your team members, and therefore, with the technical knowledge shouldn't be too hard to discern what needs to be done. [/list] [list] [*][b]Testing/Pre-Production[/b]- This should be handled as a "running" list throughout the development phase. During development make sure you keep a list of all known bugs and process improvements that you've found. It's best, in my opinion, to leave bugs that do not directly effect the functions of the core code till this phase to be dealt with. This will better keep the project on schedule and allocated time and resources can be managed during pre-production to take care of these oddities. It's also best to reassess your current product at this point and see how in-line with your original Project Scope/idea that it is. Quality-wise, is this the product you intended to create and does it feel as though, based on your market research, that it's something that's appealing to others?. A complete re-evaluation with the whole team will allow for a better understanding of your product after the end-rushes of the development cycle. [/list] [list] [*][b]Production - [/b]Releasing a game product for production has so many variables that a whole book could probably be written about it. By what means are you going to release the game? How will advertising be done? How will continued support and updating of the game be done? Are investors/publishers involved at this point? Will you keep all of your staff, or are their resources that are unneeded at this point? [/list] ------------- Most of the ideas listed above probably have conflicting interests with the game development community as a whole, and I'll restate that this is all from my own experience. Some suggestions that aren't included, to keep up with your team, during the project but not necessarily pertaining to the product itself I've listed below.[list=1] [*]Continue to reassess your project plan on a daily basis. A good project coordinator will know when he should reallocate resources on an over-allocated task. It will also keep your plan up-to-date. [*]Plan training events or extra-circular activities for your team. There are many great sites out there for learning, and learning together as a team will not only keep them motivated but help to define your resources as a whole. Such websites come to mind as www.coursera.org, www.udemy.com, www.learni.st, www.scribd.com, www.safaribooksonline.com. - All can be valuable resources. If someone on your team learns how to do something new that may be beneficial to the team as a whole, ask them to create a presentation to teach the rest of the team. [*]Don't panic! If your project turns a complete 360 for varying reasons, remember that you've planned well and with your management of the team and your team's drive, you can accomplish any obstacle. [/list] Anyways, just my two cents.
  2. Degree or indie development?

    I'm not sure why you wouldn't want [u]both[/u]. This goes with any industry, if you have a degree but lack the technical experience and hands on that most colleges can't give you, then that only tells me as a hirer that you have the information of what to do, but you have little understanding on how to actually apply it. If you have experience developing indie games, but have no degree, that tells me that while you have the knowledge of the gaming industry, and are able to successfully complete titles, etc...you've only been limited to the knowledge that you sought for making that specific game, and are lacking any well-rounded education concerning the field. College is a great way to build a portfolio for yourself, keep you interested in such an industry, and most importantly give you some tangible object(a degree) in which you could use later if game development isn't what you decide you want to do or you're unable to get into the industry. With the way the job market is globally at this point, it's rather hard to compete for job positions WITHOUT a degree. Example: I just lost in the running for a position that paid about 30k more a year than the one I ended up getting with the company, through back door talks I was able to find out that I lost the bidding for the position due to the guy who(based on their saying) had the same experience as I did, but had a Master's degree compared to my Bachelor's degree. Those are the little things that can kick you in the nads when the time comes to actually apply and get that position Go for your degree, there's no point not to. While trying to obtain your degree try getting internships/indie experience/more self study, and build a portfolio of your work along with your resume. Dot your i's and cross your t's and hope and pray luck goes your way Good Luck!
  3. How do I get my foot in the door...

    [quote name='Ronbert' timestamp='1295801367' post='4763477'] Thank you for the kind words and input! I should mention I currently couldn't construct a game unless I was given a project kit similar to UDK were all the programming is done and you just place tiles and such. That's why I'm going to school for programming I've always wanted to be a programmer but over the last few years I've realized I know longer want to "dream" it, I want to study it learn it, learn to take something I love and construct it from scratch. Turn those visions in my head into working living creations. @BlindAttitudeGames Someone to hold my hand is just a tad extreme... the rout I want to take is the one I'm already working on schooling and such but I'm looking for someone to give me information about I guess applying for the positions the type of degree game companies look at when considering hire. As far as learning the languages go that's not something I want a "mentor" on that's something that will take practice for years and a lot of study. [/quote] You seem to have a good road started to getting in, in my honest opinion. You've chosen to take a conventional degree in computer science instead of working towards a specific game design degree(which professionally I don't agree with). Taking a conventional degree will allow you to look for other work besides game development if the need should arise once you graduate. While this may not be what you'd like for your future (working outside the game industry), a lot of technical jobs out there can be directly translated into the game development process. Having a specific degree in *just* game development has the likelyhood that if you can't find work in the industry, you have no other knowledge to fall back on other than entry level technical positions, if that. While there's no definite, it's likely to say that a game studio with any type of credit will not hire you unless you have some type of portfolio to show with work that you've done in the past. Even if it's your own silly programming projects that you do by yourself, those can go a long way into showing what you're capable of doing. While in college, I'd look into starting this portfolio much like you would a job resume, continue to add to it and find things to make it better. In 4 years, that portfolio could show some interesting promise.
  4. alternative to death penalty in mmo

    Having played online games starting with MUD's for almost a decade now, and at a competitive level for about half that the argument of a death penalty was said best by the individual in the above post that stated that it should be decided against by what type of audience you're trying to attract. The WoW arguments show that many game designers overlook at why World of Warcraft was so successful. It's apparent in the gaming industry that more and more people are playing games in the world, from 5 year old "Tommy" to 50 year old "Aunt Elle". Development companies have seen this, and being one of the biggest markets in the industry so have the MMO Developers. World of Warcraft was the first MMO to try and envelope everyone. They took what they thought was good from other MMO's and changed the "hardcore" playstyle. The reason WoW attracts so many people is because a 5 year old kid can log on, play the game, and it's simple enough for them to understand. There's relatively no difficult quests, no bogged down storyline, and hardly any accomplishment that can be made in the game that's even close to other "Hardcore" MMO's. Having lead MANY Hardcore guilds in my time that have achieved both Server and World firsts on an individual and group basis when a new recruit tries to apply for the guild...if all they have is WoW experience their application is closed, thrown out, and never looked at again. This is what WoW has created, an MMO that doesn't develop real MMO quality players. Take someone who's played MUD's, UO, EQ, DAoC, Lineage I/II, Shadowbane...these are the players we look for. Why is that? Because it's two different audiences. If you take the death penalty out of a game it will be one more design that will leave a bad taste in your hardcore fanbase. It will also attract more casual players, so which player base do you want? Hardcore players are your player base that will stick with the game from pre-release to closing of the servers. This is a smaller market but a market that will pay for your game much longer then a casual player might. While casual players tend to move from game to game...why wouldn't they? They have no "real" attachment to the game other then logging on for a bit, playing, then logging out. This is a large market for MMO's but a market that will pay far far less time wise.
  5. Another beginner in need of advice...

    I'm the same as you, currently teaching myself Visual C++. www.cprogramming.com is what I'm using to teach myself at the moment. As well as dwelling on the intelligence of a few programmers I know to answer any questions I have.
  6. Assassin's Creed

    They offered a huge amount of new features that just felt fresh for this game. The problem was that it was the same new features offered through the whole game and it never evolved into anything more. The storyline was alright, but it wasn't enough to keep me entertained as much as I should of been. I have to admit though, once I learned how to counter and actually beat some ass on the game is was entertaining enough to play it all the way through.
  7. Text based games popularity

    The thought of creating an entirely new text-based MUD with some of today's technology (java for example) seems like a great idea. MUD's seem to spring up all the time, with little advertisement and usually copies of older MUD's that have already been released. The truth is there is still a slightly huge market for MUD's...this can be seen at www.mudconnect.com or looking at some of the bigger MUD's like Achaea. As long as you brought some innovation to the table, I'd be rather excited about following up on a project such as this.
  8. Flash Problems

    I'm trying to change the link of the buttons. I want the buttons to go to THIS URL...for example. I know in HTML you just change the href to whatever link you want the buttont to go to.
  9. Flash Problems

    I'm working on editing a template for my gaming clan and it's totally done in flash. I've taken the SWF file and converted it to a FLA file for editing. My problem is I'm totally new to flash, and can't find for the hell of me how to change the buttons on my website's URL links. www.riotkinship.com is the website. I want to be able to change my forum's button to go to my forum's URL...and etc. Please if anyone could post an example code of what I need to change to be able to do this, it would be greatly appreciated. I've been looking everywhere and there doesn't seem to be much on flash website development.