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Postmortem: Miasma

From the eyes of a producer, a postmortem for Miasma, a 2D platformer.

Miasma Postmortem
Miasma Screenshot  

Navin Supphapholsiri Producer

Miasma is a 2D side-scrolling platform game.  Set in the Kingdom of Good during a time period where necromancers and paladins fight each other in an endless war. Vathras, the necromancer, uses his Miasma ability to propel and defend himself through the dark caverns to rescue the Princess Allina from the Order of the Golden Gryphon.

The team consists of six developers working over a time span of 8 weeks. After six milestones, we were able to create a playable demo that we are proud of. This postmortem analyzes the obstacles and challengers our team encountered during the production phase.

What Went Well

1.)    Cutting Early

When I was assigned as producer for this team, there were a myriad of features that was initially pitched for the game concept. The core mechanic was not fully fleshed out and the extra features seemed to be just tacked on. By Vertical Slice, we managed to cut down a good chunk of the extra features that would not be able to make it in by release.

2.)    High Buy-in/Motivation

Although the game was over-scoped from the start, the majority of the team was still bought into the idea. As each feature, asset, or milestone was achieved, the team was able to build motivation on each other’s success. These small morale boosters were extremely helpful along the rough development process.

3.)    Sufficient Testing

At the end of each major milestone, the Guildhall provided individual Kleenex Testers, internal testing teams, and external testing teams for our project. Outside of core hours, the design team found testers to play-test our prototype throughout the development process. This gave the team sufficient information to implement tweaks and gameplay to improve the overall quality of the game. 

  Miasma Screenshot

What Went Wrong

1.)    Distractions From Other Classes

Miasma was not the only project going on for everyone. Other classes at the Guildhall at SMU had deliverables that required attention from team members. For my team, it was difficult to balance time spent towards this project versus time spent towards other disciplines.

2.)    Problematic Team Members

For some of my team members, this project was their first encounter with working collaboratively with others. Basic problems that occurred were things such as conflicting art styles, contrasting design views, and different standards of quality. Some team members didn’t react to this experience as professional as they should have been and the overall quality of the game suffered.

3.)    Not Enough Time Spent on Quality Assurance

Prior to our major cuts during Vertical Slice, the team was extremely busy creating the assets and code. There was not enough time spent on checking bugs and polishing. Several problems that were noted by early Kleenex Testers appeared on preceding reports.
Miasma Screenshot  

Conclusion

Overall, by successfully completing each milestone, our team was able to create a playable demo with minor cuts that we are proud of. We gained insight about the gaming industry as well as the importance of team dynamics. From this opportunity, we gained valuable experience that can be applied on our future projects as emerging developers.

Development Team

Navin Supphapholsiri – Producer

Ben Howenstein – Programmer

Tim Tran – Artist

Jen Huff - Artist

Ryan Becker – Level Designer

Tradd Thompson – Level Designer

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