From Birth Till Beta
It’s been a long time since my last post. No amount of words can quite describe everything we’ve accomplished thus far. So as a cop out, I’ll show you some pictures instead!
It’s been a journey thus far, an odyssey of epic proportions! Hope you guys try out the beta release and help us make it even better!
– Clement “I’m too good for writing” Tran
Week 5-8: Growth
I wanted to post the pictures up for now. I’ll come back to blog a little later. =)
Week 4: Real Talk
Let’s see, coming into this week we were almost eighty hours off our burndown chart. Not exactly something you want to tell Jim at the end of the Sprint. On top of that since our whole group was in Game AI, we all had Pacman due Thursday. The plan was to finish Pacman Wednesday night and reserve Thursday’s all nighter for Microventures. That was the plan anyway.
Tuesday was our presentation day for Microventures at the Business Design Competition. We had a good reception so hopefully we’ll get some interesting prospects to work with. At this point though we’re a little doubtful someone will come in and match their business with our programming. We’ll have to wait until next week though.
Wednesday night comes around and the “good kids” are all pretty much done. The other half of us are kind of lagging behind. Thursday night comes and we’re still working on Pacman. Oh well. That’s why we are having an all nighter right? Chris and I finished Pacman a couple hours before midnight.
The all nighter was another success. We actually have a procedurally generated level with spawned monsters and chests. We can even move our player around. There was a lot of debate over pathfinding. At first we wanted to make a placeholder pathfinding for this Sprint, but realized we shouldn’t attempt pathfinding at all if we’re going to replace it later with A*. So in the end the player can only move to adjacent squares.
So the Sprint has come and gone. We’re still fifty hours off our goal, but considering what we have, I am quite satisfied myself. I promised you last week for a playable game right? And did it happen? Yes it did. Well it’s interactive anyway. The true success here is not the project, but the team itself.
Yeah, that’s the team right there. These are the guys I wish I met three years ago, back when I had little faith that computer science geeks just weren’t my type. Funny thing is I’ve known Chris since middle school, Dan for three years, worked with Kyle last year, and apparently met James and Fletcher back in CS80K. Fletcher actually knocked Reflector (my 80K game) from placing in the finals. James made this hilarious Metal Gear esque game that I still remember giving me smiles until this day. I guess it just goes to show, you don’t really know who you’re going to get along with until you actually give it a good shot.
Then again it’s not fair to say I would just get along with any other 170 group. Fact is I was on Hello World for a short couple of days before I realized the team just wasn’t for me. Being on a team of highly skilled programmers can be intimidating and disheartening. And with different personalities it probably would have led me down the same hole I’ve always fallen into. Yes, their game is looking great these days, but I’ve never looked back since I switched to Microventures. As much as finding a project you believe in is important, it’s equally important that you find a team that you’re willing to fight for. It’s like war right?
When I go home people’ll ask me, “Hey Hoot, why do you do it man? What, you some kinda war junkie?” You know what I’ll say? I won’t say a goddamn word. Why? They won’t understand. They won’t understand why we do it. They won’t understand that it’s about the men next to you, and that’s it. That’s all it is.
– Black Hawk Down
It’s funny that half the year is still here, yet I’m already growing sad thinking about what I’ll be leaving behind. The team, the lab, just the environment is superb here. I really wish college life had started here. It’s so motivating to be working right along side your peers. My middle school teacher told me I’d make my true friends in college, because being friends with people who share the same goals is just powerful. He was very passionate about his work, so maybe “true friends” is a little much, but surely some of the best friends you’ll make is probably right.
Not sure what else to say about the team. Just a real fun bunch with each our own quirky, but similar personalities. Think I’ll dedicate a part of each blog to a different team member. I’ll call it “Meet the Team.” Yeah, that sounds like a plan.
– Clement “I Do Real Talk” Tran
Week 3: Overdrive
So WordPress kind of sucks. It just doesn’t have the convenience and options available like Facebook. Basically, I have three choices. A slideshow that switches slides too quickly to read caption and has no order customization, a gallery of thumbnail images (you can click on them to open a different slideshow), or the way I’ve done it before that happens to take too damn long to upload images onto the post. Below is the first two options as an example. I’m still deciding which one is better. So let me know people.
A pretty eventful third week for Microventures production.
Once again we started the week with Jamestown which got moved to Monday so now it’s Jamestown Monday. And then there’s also Baballe Wednesday where we get some cuban sandwiches downstairs.
This week it was time for the team to present to Jim the UML we had created. Luckily for us by the end of it we were awarded the most unique UML thanks to our 3 prong attack on the code: Story, Level, Game.
Mid week was our long awaited Microventure’s White Elephant. Everyone brought in their 10 dollar gift. I ended up getting some liquor to make Martinis. Yay!
The highlight of the week was the Thursday/Friday Code-A-Thon. We loaded up on energy drinks and food to last us through the night. Definitely interesting to see how sleep deprevation affected everyone. Overall, no one made it through the night and no one seemed to be effective in the wee hours. I’m already looking forward to our next coding session, because our already humurous team seems to get only funnier the further along we are in the night.
So I promised playable content by the end of the week, but we only accomplished integration. Engine, game, and level gen got linked up successfully. We decided to put story gen on the backlog since we seemed to be the only one totaling 200+ hours on Sprint 1. Seemed like every other group didn’t even plan it to 100 hours. Coding night was a big accomplishment for the team, but it didn’t quite show on the SCRUM board. Future breakdown of our tasks will really help out.
Next week is our last week for the sprint. We’re definitely expecting some playable content so stay tuned!
Week 2: Technical Difficulties
Opened up the week with some class diagrams, but it quickly turned into Jamestown Sunday. What was suppose to be a short gaming session before we parted ways turned into a three hour ordeal. But by the end of it we beat the level and that’s one more task off the SCRUM board for Microventures!
UML was a real pain, especially for me. I’m not very good at planning and organizing something as large as a game without actually coding anything. I think the problem is it feels like the pass couple of months have been a bunch of design docs, technical design docs, and more and more planning. For me I’m just waiting to get some playable/visual content so I have something to excite over. At least I know the boring work is done and programming is on the table.
Team is jelling really well. Most of us watched Paprika which was like a Japanese Inception. We started Jamestown Monday where we beat a level of Jamestown on judgement. Foods is plentiful. I think we stocked up on Costco at the beginning of the week and finished all the food by the end of the week… At least we’re happy and healthy programmers.
Going to be working with the gameplay team to set up the game engine and hopefully have a movable sprite by the end of next week. Look forward to Microventures pumping out some serious content by the end of next week!
Week 1: Hit that ground running!
A farmer by the name of James professed “So yeah, we’re gonna be hitting the ground running.”
And that we did.
Alright so a little rough around the edges for my first blog. Outside of a handful of Myspace blogs this really is my first blog so I promise it’ll get better as we get deeper into the quarter. Basically most of us came back Tuesday and our Release Plan was due Wednesday and then our Sprint Plan Thursday so quite a busy first week. But everyone showed up and everyone put in the effort to get the job done. At times too much effort. At times too little effort. And at times we discussed racism. And other times ate pizza. I think it was the the excitement of coming back to school and working on this project we had planned last quarter, but I hope we stay focused and spend less time arguing over the little things that barely mattered.
Overall, an exciting start for Microventures. Next week we have UML due and a whole of Marmalade to work with.
– Clement “Continuing the Micro Trend” Tran