XPBLOG: Finding the fun – 7/2/21
Hello! We’re Team Butter Tart, one of three teams that are a part of MassDigi’s second Experience Program (MassDigi XP2). Our team is made up of recent graduates and current students from around the world. MassDigi XP2 is a special eleven-week virtual internship program which has us develop and publish an original game. These first few weeks our team has been honing the core of our game mechanics by finding what makes it fun.
We began the brainstorming process by breaking down game genres and searching for what makes them fun – and the core game loops. Then we used rapid ideation to come up with different metaphors for the genres and repeated the ideation process by putting a small twist on it. An example of this process is taking a metaphor “look who brought a gun to a sword fight” and adding a small twist, “look who brought a cat to a sword fight.” We would later throw these twists into genres and analyze what stuck, forming our game pitches.
Currently, we are at the stage of presenting our clean “dirty builds” where we quickly craft prototypes to test ideas, concepts and reject failures while finding our core game loops as soon as possible. Our goal was to have a solid first 10 seconds of fun that is engaging and exciting.
Of the many important things that we’ve learned til now, the trivial yet most necessary thing was shifting from student to a professional mindset. It was time to reinforce the change in our mindsets, reinforcing the fact that we are professionals. Working 9 to 5 every weekday, and pencils down when the workday is over give us a set amount of time to get our work done. You’re not allowed to take work home – and unexpected interruptions will happen, between guest speakers, mentors, and cross-functional teams, stressing the importance of time management skills. Utilizing one of the Agile methodologies, Kanban, we’ve been able to stay attentive to what needs to be done. Kanban allows us easy transparency of work helping the day-to-day workflow.
Over a span of the month, Team Butter Tart has come up with various interesting game ideas such as a “Match 3” baby sword fight game, a cardboard box cat breeding game, a dumpster farm endless runner, a stretchy cat rhythm game, a catfishing woody block puzzle, a stretchy cat one tap game, and finally, a cat-themed precision platformer. As a result of quick prototyping, playtesting, and peer reviews, we ended up rejecting all but one of our ideas. We would be lying if we say that it was easy to scrap an idea that we thought would be the next hit and move on to a new idea, but it was something that had to be done because of various issues that we discovered during our prototyping and feedback phase. As a result of this, we finally have a game that we believe is fun to play, fits our scope, and can be monetized easily. If not for this approach, we would have easily started working on an out-of-scope idea, which we would have only realized near the end of our program, and would have had to settle for an unfinished game.
Meet the team
- Jacob Siegel – Producer, Game Designer – Graduated Becker College 2021
- Kshitij Gajapure- Programmer – Graduated IIT Gandhinagar 2021
- Camden Gamlin – Programmer – Graduated Becker College 2021
- Melanie Thibodeau – Programmer – Rising senior UMass Dartmouth
- Nathan Moura – Artist – Rising senior UMass Dartmouth
- Kiria Bentley – Artist – Rising junior Fitchburg State University
- Gregory Bonini – Audio – Graduated Becker College 2021