top of page
  • gabestott

TDEMO ASTRAL SPACE (Game 4: Starfox)

Updated: May 19, 2021

Team leader

I was one of two team leaders for this project which was a first for me but a welcome one. It is my plan to eventually be my own boss and run my own games-industry related business, therefore this was a great opportunity for me to test out my leadership and planning abilities. An opportunity to find my strengths and my weaknesses.

We started strong

As soon as we knew our groups I got to work on setting up a group chat and invited each team-member to join. This was made fairly easy because most people are on discord now, some people needed sending an email still though but that wasn't a hard set back. We agreed to have our first meeting and before that even happened Gabriel Daka, the other team leader, had already created a discord channel to help us organise our work into separate channels, and need things like announcements and general discussion to their own channels too. He even created specific voice channels for the different game elements such as; Programming, 3D modeling, 2D art/Animation, Music/ Sound, UI and even level design.

We developed together

We made sure to have a regular meetings on discord at around 6:30 each day, a time which best suited the majority of us most days. We did this to discuss and work on the game and to keep track of everyone's hour to both ensure people aren't going over and to ensure people aren't under performing. In these meetings we spent time at the start and end discussing anything that might apply to us all then during the call we'd all crack on with our own work. towards the end of the project I made sure to go round and check if anyone needed help or if there was any concerns which often proved to an effective way to drive development in the right direction.

We stuck to a fairly relaxed schedule, everyone was encouraged to work during the 6:30 call and to be vocal and proactive in discussion and by the end I can happily say everyone had taken part in this and was far more confident in communicating with each other.

We finished together

Despite not managing to get everything implemented into the game, we were all pleased to see at least something from everyone implemented into the game. We all agreed that it had been a successful project and that we had enjoyed working with one another. I'm sure that if we'd had 4 weeks instead of 2 we'd have realised our concept by creating a truly professional level game which delivered on all it's proposed features.

What I learnt:

Programming: I learnt how to import into unity, how to work in a unity colab, how to navigate some of the unity UI and also how to add basic image textures to objects including but not exclusive to the sky box. I also have a better understanding of how to use scripts in unity.

Sound: I learnt about the existence Implementation middle ware such as FMOD and how it can be used to streamline the implementation of musical elements as well as creating seamless transitions between tracks. Although I only found out about it on the evening before the game was due and so didn't have time to use it, it's something I intend on exploring. Having a deadline also forced me to work smarter and be more brutal with my decision making on a track, there's no room for perfectionist feelings when you need to hit a deadline with only so much time. With a little inspiration I can make something that I'm passionate about... at least at the start.

3D modeling: I learn't that 3D models, even low poly, very simple models can take hours and hours to make when you don't know what you're doing. Whereas with even a little practice and knowledge the things you can make are truly pretty awesome, prime example being what our Mohammed made. It's also important to do a couple tests like importing a basic object with an asymmetrical shape to find out how the model will react when it's taken out of one software and put in another, for example will the object rotate a specific way? is it easier to rotate the object inside the modeling software before you transfer it to the engine or is it easier to do it after? Also will the engine take notice of your textures if you textured something in the 3D modeling software or will it ignore them making it pointless to texture in the modeling software.

2D art: Even simple sprites aren't easy to make and making them look good is a real skill. Never underappreciated the time that goes into making sprites and animations, especially good ones. Sprites/ animations can be made using free online software called Piskel.

UI and Level design: Good UI is heavily dependent on 2 things, 1. how well can you design the UI and 2. How well can you implement those designs. The UI needs to be coded and so you need to direct and encourage a close relationship and regular communication stream between the people working on those elements. Good level design is the same because ultimately it's hard to design levels when you're unsure on what mechanics, environment elements and threats to the player you have to work with.

General: Being a team leader comes with the inherent responsibility to make tough decisions but surprisingly those decisions aren't always the biggest ones, they can be small things that are simply tough because you don't have all the information you want to make the most well informed decision but don't have the ability / time to get the information.

The use of kanban style trello boards is great for initial planning but people don't always update/ use them. I believe a personal trello board for managing my own personal time would be incredibly useful in future projects. I also believe that longer/ bigger projects will benefit greatly from the trello boards. We also tried to stick to a more Agile inspired approach to this project, trying to give plenty of leeway for change and adaptation when we would inevitably begin to run out of time and need to start scaling back the project.

As expected it's hard not to be over ambitious with the game concept and features but equally it's important not to restrict the creativity of your team as this will likely result in them being demotivated and unmotivated teams are ineffective teams. It's important to make sure you build the base mechanics and get a prototype working as quickly as possible.

13 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page