It has been about two weeks since the start of the semester and the project. It has been great to get to know the team. I was on-boarded to help with systems design and balancing the game. Because of those reasons I was also put onto the backend team. Our current team structure is divided into a front end and a backend team. The backend team is in charge of things the player won’t directly be interacting with such as networking, developer tools, and mechanics, while the front end team will work on aspects such as level design, environment art and UI.
The backend team’s biggest project right now is getting networked play up and running. While a great goal, this unfortunately means there isn’t much balancing work for me to do in the game’s build. In order to be productive I have been trying to help the programmers on the backend team. I offered because in addition to my Game Design degree I also am working towards a Game Programming degree. Since in build balancing is feasible at this moment my role in the team is to help design the developer tools that I will be using to balance the build. It’s a good job for me to have as it will help me familiarize myself with the tools I will be using in the future to gather data and make changes.
I have also been putting together a plan for when I can actually get into the build to start balancing it. I’ve been keeping track of who I should be in contact when I start balancing the game. Some of the areas I’ve identified so far are the weapons designers, level designers, and systems programmers. The weapon designers and systems programmers would be needed in case a major change had to be made to a weapon. The changes that would require that level of collaboration would have to go beyond just simply adjusting the weapon’s values. Adjusting values such a damage and clip size is something I should be able to do with in the engine editor. Level Designers would need to be brought into the loop incase of any tweaks in the weapons or game modes. These changes might change how the level needs to be laid out so they should be included in the process.
I expect to participate in QA for a majority of the project duration. Having the results and making sure the tests collect good information makes my job easier and more efficient. Good data means clearer results and well informed decisions. One of the tools the backend team wants to develop is an admin spectator tool so that developers can watch the games in action. It would be a useful tool to help supplement the other data we’ll be collecting with context to the decisions we see.