SIP Blog: All about switch week – 8/2/23
All about switch week
By Alex Mintz, WPI ‘25
Following the success of the Seaport event in late July, we started the next week with a new challenge, switch week. Unlike previous years where switch week entailed two teams exchanging games for a few days, we had an unprecedented stipulation; everyone had to swap with each other. Therefore, this year switch week lasted three days and every day was a different game. The objective of this is to learn from our peers by considering how different teams navigate challenges. Another goal is to prepare our projects for DigiStudio, where new teams consisting of student volunteers will take over our project and interact together online during the academic year. Switching projects for a few days forces us to prepare our projects to be looked at by an outside group and see where other people may get stuck if they were to pick up our game.
To best simulate DigiStudio’s online working environment in which all the students are not in the same room, we established a period of time after the initial swap in which teams were prohibited from asking the original team for clarification. During this time, we compiled a list of questions regarding our misconceptions about their documentation so that the groups know what to improve in the future. Though we were worried we would not be able to accomplish much in such a short span of time, I felt we were able to decently contribute to the other team’s project. As most of the remaining features are “juice,” we were able to help with a vast amount of quick fixes while still learning about their overarching workflow as a whole. It brought us immense joy to watch our small changes brighten up each other’s projects. A bonus for me as a programmer was learning a great deal more about Unity.
On team Caramel Apples’ first day, we got a flavor of Cotton Candy and collaborated on their game, Rock on Raccoon. Since Caramel Apples mainly works on designing obstacle sets for our endless runner game, it was quite interesting to see how they set up their levels. One of my most enjoyable tasks personally was working on changing the color of the spotlight to indicate which band was currently playing. Moving onto the next day, we got a taste of Corn Dog’s game, Milo’s Magical Adventure. I’d say the highlight for me was making the framework for their end of game slideshow. I found it very satisfying to play through the slide shows and also make use of the sprite resolver and sprite library, tools for easily changing the sprite or image of a gameobject in unity. Finally, we took a bite of Fried Dough’s game, Aliens Want to Steal Our Mascot?! This game was the most rewarding to work on in terms of the knowledge I gained. My task involved tweaking a more niche feature of the game by getting the tiles around an attack’s spawn area for an in-game character, the Chem Kid. This required me to delve deeper into the code and in return taught me numerous new tidbits such as animation override controllers that I ended up applying to our own game at the end of the week. Overall, switch week was a bit chaotic at first, but a worthwhile experience that allowed all of us to grow as developers.