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  • Rose Gruner

Brigade Reflection

Brigade was an odd time. It was a 4 week (4 sprint) team that was tasked with creating 3 prototypes and choosing one to continue working on for the fourth sprint. We'd then present that prototype to our year as a whole and have some of the teams chosen to continue working on their game for the rest of the semester with the cut teams folded in to the continuing ones. I'm proud of some of the things we made and I even want to go back and work on some of them. However, we were also very disorganized and while my team members are wonderful people who I enjoy, we didn't work well together. This lead to a lot of conflict and miscommunication and ultimately our team was cut.

Ferals was the prototype our team decided to present. I have a lot of love for it, but I still understand why it was cut. It was a top-down stealth/horror game where you would play as a human operator directing a trained dog through an area infested with feral humans. Using a flashlight and the dog's senses the player would navigate ruined buildings and avoid and ward off the "Ferals."

That was the plan at horror is hard to sell in general and even harder to sell in 2 weeks. We didn't have the animations, the effects, the AI, or even the full experience needed to really sell the concept. I wish it could have worked out, I would have loved to have more time to work on it, but it didn't work out. Oh well, that's a valuable experience too.

I have so much love for Iron Rush. It was such a weird idea: giant mech, zero-g, catch/hot potato...Mechs were way, way outside our artist's comfort zone though and we didn't do a great job when we pitched to our class (which is why we didn't come back to it in the fourth sprint). I loved working on that movement system though, it was such an interesting challenge and it felt good. That doesn't sound like much I know, but I've been really into messing with high-speed/low (to no) grav movement systems recently. I made a prototype of a racing game in the spirit of Wipeout and Redout at about the same time and I'm looking forward to coming back to both (possibly combining them). I think a lot of it is that a. I love racing games (though I'm terrible at them) and b. this was one of my first times working with a controller and as a UX designer that's a fun challenge. Especially because controllers afford themselves to this form of movement very well so it's always a fun tool to get to work with.

And then there's Helltruck...Helltruck was a mess. We never really knew quite what the game was and making the prototype was a problem in its own right. We used this prototype as an opportunity to experiment Unreal as none of us had much experience with it. However, it caused a lot of problems for our programmer and by the end he only had a very basic driving prototype (which I'm not saying is a failure on his part, he worked hard, Unreal was just uncooperative).

As for not knowing what the game was, we had a lot of interesting ideas on top of the basic system but the basic system wasn't as fleshed out as I had believed. I didn't get too involved with the basic system because I came to the meeting late and everyone else seemed to have the basics down and didn't want me spending too much time interrogating it. Not to blame everyone else but me for the team's problems, yes there were clashes between me and our producer, but that's on both our heads not just his.

The basic concept of Helltruck was a truck driving through Hell destroying everything in its path. We discussed collecting souls as currency/fuel which would be used to gain upgrades in the form of additions to the Mad Max style truck and spray-painted on magic sigils. The actual systems never solidified more than that though. The aesthetic was cool and the basic idea had potential to be a ton of fun, but like I said we never solidified it.

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