Supervisor SafePros Design Process Reflection

What Went Well

The Supervisor SafePros (SSP) design process went relatively smoothly, as far as three day design sprints go. The team communicated well, working out a plan throughout Tuesday and implementing it over Wednesday and Thursday, adapting as needed. This fluid process was likely due to the fact that most of our team had experience planning and managing similar projects before and all carried an open mind and flexible attitude, which was imperative for moving from brainstorming to building the prototype quickly. On Wednesday we decided on roles and started designing. I spent the night creating maps for the different areas of Level 1 and reacquainting myself with RPG Maker (RPGM), which I had some experience in years ago. Megan and Kelly wrote out dialogue for the interactions, while Mev started creating game art. There is little that I would change about our process, I only wish that we had time to build more. Working with Megan, Kelly, and Mev was a breath of fresh air and my favourite group work experience of the MET program. Everyone contributed, maintained constant communication, and participated in every necessary activity. Knowing what I know now, we may have been able to build two levels in three days.

What Was Challenging

After familiarizing myself with RPG Maker’s capabilities and quirks, I found I was able to build complicated interactions much faster than I could in the past. This was one of those eureka moments, where something that was difficult in the past now made more sense because I had created conceptual understanding of related concepts by learning Javascript and PHP. RPG Maker’s variables and switches became very intuitive to me. From gaining more experience using RPG Maker, I also noted that RPG Maker is true to its name, it is very specifically built to create RPGs, and thus is structurally not the best tool to use to create other forms of games, coming with built in inventory, battle, equipment.

Initially we had hoped to develop a much more complex game, and even discussed building mini-games in G-Develop. We jettisoned this idea pretty quickly, but then again, everything happens quickly in a five day course. We all liked the idea of creating a game based way to onboard new employees, but also thought this would be difficult to demonstrate an effective prototype of in the timeframe. Finally, we decided that an RPG would work well for creating a safety course for new supervisors, and decided to use RPGM to create our prototype, but in the future I would like to teach myself more about how to use tools like G-Develop, Construct, and Unity as options for game development since they seem to open up a broad range of possibilities.

It was challenging collaborating with RPGM; since RPGM has very specific parameters for how art must be created, there is a learning curve to designing assets for the game, especially since there are many versions and generally muddy instructions on how to do it properly. The RPGM forums are surprisingly the least helpful resources of all, with myriad curt and nondescript replies to common questions and only a couple of authors providing any thoughtful suggestions at all. I am shocked that RPGM’s developers do not provide more education on the topic of tileset and charaset creation for their game engine since it is a significant source of community building and customer engagement. Additionally the differences between A1,A2,A3,A4,B,C,D etc. tilesets for map building is incredibly complicated to do properly. Why does nobody explain this? After losing critical hours searching I found one decent Medium article going over tilesets. I shared the article with Mev and although she had no editing software on her computer, she was versatile and set up Photoshop. I followed her lead and created a grid on Photoshop and learned how to do the tilesets as well so that I could make minor adjustments as needed.


Blabbing on about learning

Sign up for my newsletter