A few years ago, when I made signs, I created a complicated measuring tool that could take the place of 7 or 8 other, large, unwieldy tools. It was cut out of one, fairly light piece of aluminum, and looked sort of like something a klingon Pope would carry lashed to a stick. No one outside of our shop ever saw that thing, and it’s likely that few people ever will. I was happy with the result, not because it looked cool, I would argue that it did, but because it solved a problem. It was as clear an example of form following function as I’ve ever come up with.
During the recent Global Game Jam, the team I was working with came up with some very simple procedures for parting out our project so that everyone could work on it at the same time. It was a bit messy, but it worked. We simply had everyone working on separate parts, sound, art, levels, behaviours, code, etc. then we would bundle them up and import them all into one master project. Had we worked like this for a week or a month, we would likely have ran into some catastrophic errors. Had we worked on the game for any longer than 48 hours we would have started to refine the process. We would codify naming conventions and packaging procedures. We would move people into roles that played to their strengths. The form of the team and the way it worked would follow the function of developing the game.
Adventure Caddie is fast approaching a state where codifying processes will become important. I was sort of hoping that, during this game jam, I would have to tackle some of those problems. From a purely selfish point of view, I think I got what I needed out of the experience. I think I have a pretty solid handle on how to deconstruct the game into packageable parts, and then reintegrate them cleanly.
In a future post I’ll go over, in more specifics, how we will deal with project and asset management on Adventure Caddie.