Light of Alariya
Light of Alariya poster created by a team artist.
Lead Producer of an Open World Game Created in Unreal Engine 5
As Lead Producer my responsibilities included...
I worked daily to contain the project scope and mitigate risks related to the scale of our greenlit idea. In the image, I am discussing changes made to the game story by the leads team to scale back game content.
I planned all sprints and worked directly with stakeholders to communicate changes and expectations. I presented with the Leads during milestone presentations.
User Research and QA Testing
One of my responsibilities was finding playtesters, creating a user research (post-playtest) survey in Qualtrics, and setting up and monitoring playtesters while documenting feedback to bring back to the team.
As the end of the project approached, I managed and maintained the bug log, worked with the Leads team to assign and monitor fixes, and lead the team's QA effort.
In the image, I am sitting with the program director and recording his feedback as he plays through the game.
I worked with a professor to bring a large group of Undergraduate students to Kleenex test our game at the same time! I showed aspiring game developers a portion of our process and how our development was organized, then monitored their playtesting and recorded feedback!
Even on our celebratory release day, the Leads and I monitored those playtesting the game and prepared to address any critical issues the arose.
Production Tools I Used During This Project -
The overall project goals physical calendar created by the leads team & I.
Unreal Engine 5
Examples of Project Documents I Created -
Game Screen Shots
Light of Alariya
The entire Light of Alariya development team! I am in the top left. This team consists of a Producer, Level Designers, Programmers, and Artists. There was a Lead Artist, Lead Software Developer, Lead Level Designer, and Game Designer.
What I Learned...
This project was unique because I was the only producer the entire time, and because this is a capstone project, the stakeholder monitored the team significantly less. I was able to build on the lessons learned from my first project and grow more of my soft skills. I learned how to work with developers on a new engine (Unreal Engine 5), and learned about how to work with the Playstation 5 development pipeline. I also got to experience the Epic Games publishing process, as well as manage publishing to Steam!
How to say "This isn't in scope". Our game was originally pitched as an "open world exploration game where you said your boat, fight off enemies with your whip, purchase boat upgrades, and solve puzzles". Despite each of these pillars requiring a significant amount of work, we attempted to test our pipelines early in prototyping. It became evident that despite how cool combat could be, we didn't have the time or resources to make our whip and enemies function well and feel good. So, working with the leads team and the stakeholders we were able to shift the narrative but still include the work for the enemies that was completed. (The statues in the game were once the enemies).
Ask the team for help. Related to the need to scope back, we as a leads team realized that the game felt empty without our enemies, so I hosted a team forum where all members could input ideas and we could openly discuss where to go with our game from here. I took notes and moderated the conversation and who spoke, and together as a team we were able to craft a path forward we all agreed with.
Be flexible. As the only producer, there were several days that I needed to be in many places at once. I had to keep my trusty notebook by my side and be ready to jump from meeting to meeting and rapidly change subjects. I was able to depend on my leads to help out if I needed to be in several places at once, which added another dimension to my flexibility as I jumped from meeting to meeting. We would then meet to sync at the end of each workday.
Coaching the Leads helps. As part of my thesis, I wanted to teach the leadership team an established coaching method. I spent a few weeks coaching the other Leads through my interpretation of Radical Candor by Kim Scott. Each week we spent a little extra time discussing how we could be more open and honest with our teammates to work better together. I was actually able to witness the Leads understanding the coaching and then applying it throughout the course of the project.
Meet the team where they are. This is part of accepting and utilizing feedback from teammates. If something isn't working for the team, ask what will work for them and what adjustments can be made, then make them. Toward the end of the project, many teammates expressed irritation with the content of the game so I worked with the leads to gather their suggestions and help teammates work on what tasks fit them and their needs and interests best.