Rapid Ideation Session: Sprint Review

The first rapid ideation has come to an end and now I am going to round it off with this sprint review. As I had explained in my post on the 17th February, I organised this rapid ideation session as a single sprint according to the Agile / Scrum framework and I tried to maintain this for the duration of the two weeks.

In keeping in line with this, I am going to post this sprint review in which I weigh the progress I made against my original goal.

I originally worded my goal as follows:

To design and build a complete, working game within two weeks

However, after considering the concept of SMART goals halfway through the rapid ideation session, I decided to refine it to ensure that it met this criteria and was more realistic and measurable. The goal was also further refined to reflect more directly the purpose of the ideation session. My goal then became:

To develop my game design and development skills, as well as my knowledge of the Unity game engine, by designing and building a working prototype for my game within a period of two weeks.

This was by no means a change to or deviation from the original goal. It was simply fine tuning it to ensure it is measurable and put more focus on the learning process, rather than any final outcome. I realised halfway through the session that building a complete working game was not realistic given how early on I am in my learning, so I emphasised that this process would involve working on a prototype and learning from it.

I will weigh my progress compared to this refined goal and I will assess how successful I was in attaining this goal. To do this, I will break down my goal into two parts that I will assess, according to what I have learnt and developed. They are:

  • Developing my game design and development skills, primarily in Unity
  • Designing and building a working prototype for a game

Developing my game design and development skills

I acquired several skills, both creative and technical which will aid me in game design. I developed these by drawing from a broad range of sources and then testing them out. I have become very familiar and confident with the interface of Unity and I feel that I can navigate around it pretty well.

As for designing games, I utilised several methods of idea generation that I had acquired and then I used my chosen idea as the basis to come up with a game concept that has clear mechanics and and objective.

I learnt about the basics of level design through sketching to work out the flow of a level, as well as obstacles. While this is something that will require further practice to further develop, it is something which I believe came naturally to me. I then learnt how to use Unity’s tilemap function to visualise the level I designed within Unity.

I also learnt means of prototyping games by sourcing pre-made assets in order to create all the elements of my game. I have also started to pick up small bits of C# and improve my programming skills although this is a steep learning curve. I have developed some understanding in using parameters in scripts to create conditions which trigger events within a game and also animations.

I was also able to utilise some of my existing skills such as illustration and animation to find out how these tie into game development and I was able to draw and animate a spirte for a player character as well as drawing assets for one of the environments.

While I do not have proficiency in Unity yet, I am certainly more skilled in the Unity game engine, as well as game development and design than I was two weeks ago, so this part of the goal is largely a success, but also something I can continue to develop further.

Designing and building a working prototype for a game

I managed to design the basic layout for a game which has a character and a few realised obstacles. I made two really basic levels; although one is perhaps arguably not a level as it consisted solely of a few platforms and a bit of walking with no real gameplay. One of the levels had been fully designed and while I managed to add in some of the function, most of it was absent.

While I set out to make something simple during this process, perhaps even then I was unsure of how simple it had to be and I therefore still bit off more than I could chew. This is simply because I did not know how to budget my time to make a game in two weeks, especially solo.

This part of the goal was largely a failure but with elements of success in it and attempting to make the game did help me to improve my skills. In doing this, I have learnt to do what my tutors have taught me and that is to embrace failure.

The interesting thing about how my progress has met my goal is that one half of the goal was largely successful and the other half was largely a failure but either way, there is a lot that I have got out of this rapid ideation session, which I can bring forward in future projects. While I largely failed to build a working prototype game, it paradoxically helped me to become successful in developing my game design and development skills.

From taking on this project, I have learnt that success and failure are not binary and in fact anything we embark on has elements of both success and failure. I can say with confidence that this rapid ideation session was not entirely successful, but it was not a failure either. I have come out of this rapid ideation session with newly developed skills and it has also opened up new areas that I can explore further in my study.

My next post will be a Sprint Retrospective in which I will analyse more closely what went right during this project, what went wrong and what I can improve. I will also analyse how effective the Scrum framework was in this project.

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