Hex Rally Racers
Hex Rally Racers poster created by a team artist.
Lead Producer of an Arcade Racer Created in Unreal Engine
As Lead Producer my responsibilities included...
I managed the product backlog, sprint planning, and milestone deliverables. I also presented with the leads team to stakeholders each milestone and functioned as a conduit between the stakeholders and the team.
Production Tools I Used During This Project -
Microsoft Office Suite
Adobe Creative Cloud
Examples of Project Documents I Created -
The Leads Team
Our leads team was composed of two producers (including me!), an artist, a level designer, a software developer, and a game designer (who I worked closely with).
On our team, the game designer represented the "what" and I represented the "how".
The Full Team!
This team is composed of Level Designers, Artists, Producers, and Software Developers! Our team is a mixture of disciplines, nationalities, interests, strengths, and weaknesses. I strived throughout the project to represent the full team and all of what makes us unique!
Seen above, the game designer and I are wearing fun hats as part of our team accountability rituals... plus they help us stand out in a crowded room! Easy leadership location device.
Game Screen Shots
Hex Rally Racers
What I Learned...
This project was my first game project in a production role. Many of my key takeaways I learned the hard way. I learned how to work with stakeholders while managing a team, I gained confidence in myself and my leadership ability, and I learned how to organize a game from concept to publishing.
How to say difficult things. This project challenged me because I worked on it with my classmates, and friends, so disagreements felt heavier. (Check out my article related to working professionally with friends on gamedeveloper.com!)
What risks to look for, and how to mitigate them. As I mentioned earlier, much was learned the hard way. Framerate, performance, and UI challenged our team until the very end. A lot of time was spent trying to track down the sources of issues, for example, we had many large files, and non-optimized textures on very small plants. I now know going forward to ask the artists on my team to double check the file size of what they are uploading. On my next project, I intend to keep a closer eye on issues that arose during HRR production so issues don't snowball into challenges late in production.
How to create a production schedule while collaborating with art, programming, and level design. Each discipline has different needs through each sprint to meet their individual goals. I learned how to plan in parallel so pieces fell into place at the right time. I have a better idea of how long it may take an asset to go through the pipeline with my team, from concept to placement in-game, so when planning our Capstone Project, I can make better estimates and more personalized plans.
Grooming and managing a product backlog. At the beginning and end of each sprint, I reviewed the product backlog with the game designer to make adjustments as needed and plan for progress! Related to this I learned how to write epics, stories, and conditions of satisfaction as well as how to plan and consider the cutting of features.
Not everyone is going to like me. This is a weird lesson to learn after all the practical skills, I know. However, I honestly think this was critical to my professional growth. I spent so much time trying to please everyone before I learned when to choose my battles, and when to walk away. For example, on this project, we had peer-evaluated feedback, and I tended to really take the "worse" feedback to heart and would get down. I learned from my mentors how to turn feedback that hurt me into productive change.
Laugh. This project had moments where things went so, so wrong. Being able to smile, laugh at myself, and be ready to move forward made every day a little more fun. Laughing helped a lot towards the end of the project, we were getting very close to deadlines, and not giving up. Remembering the fun and why we liked making games kept our team going. In the last few days of production, we had a great time creating a bracket and racing each other in our game as a team to conduct QA, find balancing issues, AND see who was the best racer of all the development team.
Overall, personally, this project was a success, I grew significantly. I got experience in the "back end" of Steam setting the game up for publishing, and even submitting it to be featured in sales! I found confidence I forgot I had, and gained a passionate love for the video game production process.