A course called “Game Production” enables 40 students from two different campus and different Majors to unite in a common goal: To create a digital game from scratch that can serve as worthy demonstration of the motivation, skills and abilities of the BTH Digital Games students.
After 10 weeks of production a new and complete game must be launched, accompanied by associated homepages, servers and the like. Part of the project is also to handle public relations and advertising of the game.
The team structure…
Before the actual project began, a five week preparation course assisted us students in the pre-production and planning of the actual production. To get familiar with the team structures commonly used in game development and the various phases of development such as what the “Alpha” and “Beta” phases really consisted of was the main goal of the course. Now, a few weeks into the project and production of the game it’s quite obvious to all of us how important that planning and preparation was.
The team structure is consisted of three subgroups, Art, Tech and Design. Each subgroup is headed by a Lead position, a student in charge of the overall progress and coordination between the subgroup and the whole team. In addition, the team also has a student filling a producer role, responsible for the administration and completion of the project. The three lead and the producer have morning meetings each day to stay up to date on the progress of the team.
Every week a team meeting is held where the three subgroups within the team discuss progress, problems, time tables and various other subjects regarding the project. Presentation of newly created and of soon to be finished material is also presented to the rest of the group for feedback. Besides this weekly meeting there is another larger meeting, where the three teams of the course get together along with the teachers to discuss the issues each team has faced during the week and their overall progress.
The teams have been given unrestricted and exclusive access to facilities within BTH where they have been able to furniture them at their own leisure with refrigerators, couches, computers, arcade games and the like to create a comfortable and creative environment. The fridge is continously restocked with merchandise for sale, saving the team both money and time along with increased moral and efficiency.
The different stages…
The production phases of the project are set to reflect those commonly used by real world game developers.
Beginning with extensive pre-production, dedicated to primarily game design and planning. Getting the game mechanics down and various features is of highest priority and given extensive thought during the early phase of the project.
After pre-production, the team moves into Alpha version phase. The main purpose of the Alpha version is getting the cornerstones of gameplay working along with implementing the graphics created by the art team. The Alpha version is fluid and not a definite final version, it is continuously updated with new features and art as the production moves along until the Beta phase.
Once the production moves into the Beta phase, production of further content is halted. Everything that is to be in the game must be implemented in the Beta version in one way or another. The whole of the Beta phase is dedicated to ironing out glitches and bugs, creating smooth gameplay and a overall great game.
The Beta phase stretches until the release of the final version, also known as Gold. Once the final version is released to the public, the team moves into post-production. Maintaining the game through patches released to the community containing everything from further bug fixes to new content and levels.