Team RIP Postmortem

Project Description (Shantanu):

Our assignment was to create a small game that involved having the player walk through an environment with the goal of immersing the player in the environment as well as evoke emotion and thoughts with the sound design and visuals.  We created a graveyard with a series of graves, with 10 unique ones. We were inspired by the Novodevichy Cemetery, specifically with the fact that each grave is individualized and as a result, it was easy to identify who each grave is meant to represent.  This was the main inspiration behind the graveyard.

Each of us played our own roles with David doing the concept sketches, Cole doing the 3D Modeling, Cindy doing the coding and day and night cycles, and Shantanu doing the music and sound design.  Each one of the 10 graves would be uniquely designed as well as have a unique soundtrack associated with them. The process went as follows, David would draw out the unique graves and put the designs in a chat we created for Cole to model, Cole would then put the models in Discord for us to put those models in wherever the unique gravestones.  Meanwhile, Shantanu would write the soundtrack and put them in the game and adjust the 3D sound settings on each individual graves. Cindy in the meantime did all the controls and the day and night cycles, plus the final gravestone showing up in the end of the game.

What went right(5 things)

David:We think the first thing went right was the construction of the environment. Our goal was to make this graveyard a space that people feel peaceful and comfortable to stay. Instead of making it as a very organized and typical graveyard where the tombstones are perfectly sitting next to each other. We took a number of stones(beside the 10 essential ones) and spread them around every part of the graveyard. The numbers of the stones aren’t too much that would make them space feel too crowded, but enough to fill the space so the space won’t feel too open and empty when the player interacts with it. We also decorated the space with plants like trees and make the ground in green to add a sense of life to the space.  

Cindy: Another thing that went right was things we had to guide players to the final destination. We received a lot of suggestions in adding some kind of road or guide to help the player walk around in the graveyard because before our later versions, all we had in the map were gravestones and the terrain. Then David created roads that connects the special gravestones and I worked on a particle system that would appear after all special gravestones had been touched. Shantanu also suggested that when the last gravestone appears, we could turn down all other soundtracks’ volumes so that the only thing players can hear would be the soundtrack on the last gravestone. I added this volume change to the game as well and players are now able to move around smoothly without being totally lost in the graveyard.

Shantanu: Something else that went right on my end was the various tracks that were put in the game, we made sure that each one sounded unique and would correctly capture the feeling behind the character that the gravestone was meant to represent.  Each song felt fitting in the game and suited each character well.

David: Although there were few technical problems we’ve encountered throughout the making process of the game, but we managed to overcome them with our own abilities and knowledge. Cindy’s coding works are always consistent and reliable. We never ran into game-breaking bugs or errors that would made the game unfunctional throughout the process.

Shantanu: Something we all did correctly was our collaborative works, we always solved the problems as a group and the project came together rather quickly because of that.  We also made sure that we would notify everyone what the changes were and we all knew exactly what was happening and what each change was that everyone made. When it would come to adjusting something that someone else did, we made sure that we talked to each other before doing it and if there was something one person wasn’t able to do, he/she would ask someone else to help out and would continue on doing another task.

What went wrong(5 things):

Art and Design(David): Big part of my job in the team is the design of the tombstone. My focus is to use the shape and the form of the tombstone to reflect their owner’s identity and trigger player’s imagination on them. Although some of them are straightforward and easy to understand. I still think some of my design didn’t work as they were expected to and I think that weaken both their impression to the players and one of our essential goal of the game. Personally I wasn’t satisfact with some of my design and I think this is one thing what has gone no so right during the production process of the game.

Communication(David): The overall communication went well throughout most of the producing process. We set up a Discord channel within the group and use it to exchange ideas and project related material(such as jpg files and maya files). We post our weekly goal at the beginning of each weeks and assigned specific jobs to each other according to their role in the team and reported to the group if there was any problems occurred during work. However, we failed at the very end of the project and didn’t post a clear message about the change of date of the presentation. And that caused one of our group member forgot the due date of the project and missed the group presentation earlier this week. This was an embarrassing mistake that would left us an unprofessional impression to the others.

David: We have to ditch a few good ideas that might make our project a better piece. We spend too much time on trying to overcome and that gave us very little amount of time and energy to add more features in the game before it’s completion. I think a better time management would help to solve this kind of problem in the future.

Map(Cindy): For the first and second playtest, we didn’t have any kind of guide that could help players to move smoothly to the final destination. Even though we got feedbacks from classmates saying that maybe we should add a road or some thing that could help them find their way in the graveyard, we still hesitated to actually create a road or an order of visiting the graves. In the end, we decided to add the road because the point of the game should be players experiencing the soundtracks and special gravestones instead of wondering around pointlessly in the graveyard.

Sound(Shantanu): Although at the beginning, the sound seemed simple enough, Shantanu ran into a problem where the sound settings seemed very strange, for example some files would still be audible at extremely far lengths despite the settings being uniform all around as well as 3D so all sounds should have theoretically had the same hearing range although one in particular did not.  Cindy was able to fix this problem by making every single sound quieter so they could only be heard once the player got extremely close to the gravestones, thus solving the problem of hearing the sound all around.

What we’ve learned

Cindy: In the process of making this game, we learned a lot of new things in Unity, for example, audio, particle systems, and things about booleans and FPS controllers. We also learned how to cooperate as a small team because it’s the first time for us to work with more than one group member.  

Shantanu: In terms of the individual tasks, Shantanu learned quite a bit on how audio can be a challenge to get perfect and how if it’s not perfect in a game like this, there is a risk of the game audio not having the desired effect on the atmosphere and tone of the game. In addition, learning about 3D sound was quite a task for him and he learned about how the whole system worked when it came to Unity’s built-in 3D sound system.

Files 22 MB
Feb 27, 2019
Walking Simulator.exe 635 kB
Feb 27, 2019

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