Granny and Squirtsworth
Brown/RISD Game Developers
Unity | PC | 2018
A puzzle platformer inspired by Korean fish markets. Players control Granny in her quest to obtain high quality fish. She must use the ink of her pet squid Squirtsworth to help navigate an environment of slippery fish tanks.
This game was developed as part of Brown/RISD Game Developers, a student game development organization run by students at Brown University and RISD, with occasional audio contributions provided by students at Berklee College of Music.
Development took place over the course of 12 4 hour weekly meetings, including one 8 hour mini-game jam, totaling 24 hours.
Play the Game!
I operated mainly in a producer role for this project, focusing on task assignment, communication, and schedule management.
As a level designer, I implementing a major revision to our design approach after players were finding our initial levels too difficult.
Finally, I provided some supporting art direction and helped programmers get more comfortable with Unity through bug fixes and advice.
This game was developed in Unity by a team of 13 (initially 18) members of Brown/RISD Game Developers as well as students of Berklee College of Music. The final team consisted of 3 designers, 4 programmers, 4 artists, 1 composer, and 1 sound designer.
BRGD often runs into an issue where designers will have little to do during production, having to wait for the prototype to reach a certain quality before being able to implement levels and playtest. As a solution for this project, I had designers develop and playtest paper levels while programmers developed the prototype. This approach allowed us to gain some information about our mechanics and have levels ready to implement and test as soon as programmers were ready.
The levels we produced at this early stage were far too difficult and did not reach the level of depth we wanted our mechanics to reach. We made major revisions to our designs, introduced more forgiving jumps, less time-reliant skill shots, and a staggered introduction to new mechanics. We had to accept that our mechanics were not reaching our initial assumptions about their depth, but that did not mean an uninteresting experience for players.
Our team also experienced greater member retention than what is normally expected in BRGD teams. I believe we maintained most of our numbers by improving team communication and facilitating a fun atmosphere. Contributing decisions include using Facebook as our main communication method – increasing visibility of conversations outside of meeting times – devoting some time to playing games and regularly bringing snacks to meetings.
What I'd Improve
The visuals of the game are still somewhat incoherent, and we struggled to force our assets to make sense visually with the level design. We should have spent more time in the concepting phase, solidifying decisions on what object would represent what asset, if those decisions made visual sense, and making sure visual hierarchy was clear.
Additionally, we could have benefited from some task list to help with project management. Due to our extremely limited schedule, most common task management practices cost too much time; however, a simple spreadsheet maintained by a producer and made visible to the team would have sufficed and minimized time costs.
Assets and Animation