A little under a year ago I agreed to be the lead (and only) developer of a VR game as a senior project. I had no prior experience with developing video games, and I wasn’t going to be a senior. Looking back on it now, I’m definitely crazy for agreeing to do this in the first place, but I’m also both proud and amazed of what we accomplished in only three short terms.
Throughout all of this, I think my largest strength was my ability to learn quickly and to adapt. At the start of the project I spent as much time as I could learning how to use Unity and creating prototypes to get a feel for what I’d need to do. It took several weeks, but eventually I learned when I should Google a problem, and when I should simply ask Sydney or Erin. I once was debugging our game for several hours and finally asked Erin for help, when she told me to check if the object was marked ‘Static’. To which, of course, my reply was “You can mark things ‘Static’?”. Despite my Unity shortcomings, I was quickly self sufficient and able to work through my assigned tasks as efficiently as I could manage. As we started play testing more, I also had to figure out how to adapt the current state of the game to the changes we wanted to make, in order to make it a better user experience. Erin and I definitely wrote a lot of code that ended up being thrown out, but we were also able to reuse a lot of it and solve the same problem in several places with one solution.
Where I believe I struggled the most with this project was time management and, in this past term, communication. At the beginning of the project I was smarter about when I started my weekly work, to give myself enough time to accomplish everything without having to rush. As the project continued on, I started my work later and later in the week, until I was finishing all of it at the last minute. I always made sure to get it done, but I created unnecessarily stressful long work sessions for myself where there didn’t have to be. I also started being less proactive about doing additional work, and only focused on my assigned tasks for the week, even if it only took me 4 hours to do them.
Finally, this past term I started having issues with notifications on my phone, which made it difficult for the other members of the team to communicate with me. There were many instances where someone tried to ask me a question that I just didn’t see until several days later. I took many steps in an attempt to mitigate this issue, but I’m still having problems with it. It definitely wasted some of my team members’ time, and I wish that I had taken more time to fix the problem when it first started occurring.
Overall, I’m proud of what I accomplished in this project – and now I can say that I have some experience developing video games.