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Capstone - Reflective Analysis

This past semester I have been fortunate to be part of a 5 man team to create a game as part of Champlain College's Game Studio. Going into this year, I thought I'd be able to utilize some of the skills I've developed not only in the classroom but also my experiences as a member of the Champlain College community. Skills like leadership, communication, mediation, and teamwork. I ended up using all the skills I have in one way or another in this Capstone experience.

Where Am I Now?

At this point in the semester, my team and I have made it past cuts and moved onto next semester. This means the vertical slice we made this semester will have the opportunity to be made into a full game. Our game is called The Grand Master, a merchant-style resource management game with action/adventure elements. The player takes on the role of the Grand Master, a retired adventurer who settles down and opens a shop so he can live comfortably and help young adventurers. Now that we are past cuts, we were able to select a few of our peers that did not make it past cuts and ask them to join our team to help us make The Grand Master a full game.

How Did I Get Here?

By trade I'm a game designer, my skill set includes level, system, and UI design. I spent most of my years here at Champlain College pursuing the classes that I believed could give me the best experience to be a well rounded designer and find a job in the industry right out of college. Aside from being a game designer, I pride myself on being a leader. Since my sophomore year I've had at least one student leadership position. I've been an Orientation Leader (OL) for three separate orientations and I've been a Residential Assistant (RA) for two years. My experience in those positions has given me insight how to communicate with people in both small and large groups, allowing me to voice my opinion and guide people to the best way to complete a task. Those leadership skills added onto my knowledge as a game designer allowed me to help my team overcome the challenges of this semester's production cycle.

What Did I Do?

I feel like I did a bunch of different things to help my team create The Grand Master. Mostly I acted as the Systems Designer, designing the systems and mechanics to allow the player to earn profits by selling items, manage adventurers, and how monster fights are supposed to feel. I pretty much made a detailed documentation for each system, passed that off to the programmer, then helped balance it out. I also acted as the Audio Designer. Based off of our artistic theme, I found sounds and instruments that sounded like they would be part of the world we created. I also was the person who would go out and find audio clips to act as feedback for the player. The last major role I had a part in was as an assistant Narrative Designer. I helped create a narrative arc that would give the player reasons why they should care about making a profit, why adventurers want to work for the player, and why the player can leave their shop and go fight a giant monster.

What Does It Mean?

To be honest I really don't know what this all means. One angle I can look at this is that my team and I made it to next semester so it means that our combined skill and all our hard work was enough to impress the faculty thus moving us forward. Another angle shows that I personally did a good job in making sure this project was balance, designed, and scoped in a way that allowed my team to shine and create the best content they could produce. But I think this also means that here at Champlain College, the students strive to be successful and will be motivated to put their best foot forward to not only prove to their peers and teachers, but to prove to themselves that they deserve a spot in the industry. And speaking of the industry, I feel like since my team and I made it forward to next semester I have proven that I am a capable designer with skills that could be seen as valuable in the industry and potentially making me a prime candidate for a studio that I'd love to work for.

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