Funded! This project was successfully funded on December 21, 2012.

Update #13

Progress Report - Sprint #1

4 comments
Hi everyone!

January is now behind us, and so is the first month of The Last Door’s development. It’s been almost 30 days of great excitement for the team, the most exciting time of our career, if I may say so myself!

Sprint #1 Meeting Report

This week, Reid Harris asked us on Twitter:

Our team works using a production method called “Scrum” that is especially indicated for videogame creation, for a lot of reasons. One of them is getting together between each development cycle or “sprint”. These cycles traditionally last for a month, and that’s how we did it. In these meetings, the team makes a presentation on how the project is coming along in every aspect. The purpose of this “demo” is twofold. First and more importantly, it allows us to present a clear vision of how the project is progressing to our “investors” (hey, that’s you backers and future players of the game!). It also works so that all of us, who have been working on our own areas of the game, may look at the project from a higher standpoint. Then the following day, now that we’re all together and have a better understanding of the game's progress, we meticulously plan the next development cycle, the reality of the project and any other circumstances.

Usually, if life allows us to, the whole team like to gather for these meetings. So, at the end of the last week we examined the first cycle’s progress of the project and thoroughly planned the next one. Now, we’d like to share these developments with you.

Project Development

Script and design:

We’ve worked a lot on the script of the Pilot Chapter. We had to create new characters, describe the rooms where the game takes place, and write a much detailed account of all the possible interactions between characters, objects, and scenarios. After putting a lot of thought into it, we designed all the puzzles of the first chapter.

Last, but not least, we were able to plan and lay out all the assets that we’ll need for chapter One: backgrounds, characters and animated objects, inventory icons, sound effects, etc.

Art:

We’ve drawn some conceptual art for most locations of the Pilot Chapter. Also, we’ve refined our pixel art style. As a result, we now use a slightly higher resolution to make up for a larger visible area.

Programming:

Using the basic structure of the playable prologue of the crowdfunding campaign, we’ve programmed a new logic engine that will accommodate a larger amount of playable content:

  • New logic language to define scenes, items, interactions and cutscenes.
  • Improvements on the animation system of objects and characters.
  • Optimization of loading times.
  • Enhanced mouse control.
  • New inventory system.
With all this new code, the prologue was rebuilt using the new engine. It remains the same on the surface but on the inside, it only took a third of the code!

Website and Player Community:

We designed a new website for the game and started off working on basic features like:

  • Full user profile: all your typical functions (and they’re a lot!) like changing and recovering your password and modifying your personal info.
  • Link your Kickstarter account to gain access to your rewards.

Other news:

We are currently planning to add a community manager to the team in the next few days. Our goal is to offer you a better and clearer vision of the whole process, and make your wait much more enjoyable until the game launch, and for the next chapters too. Soon, we will have some material to show you and we need someone to take care of you personally and help us infuse your valued opinion into the game’s DNA.

What lies ahead

As we mentioned in our last update, our goal is to launch an exclusive beta version for backers (25£ or more) by the end of this month. Luckily, most of the doubts and uncertainties were solved during January, and now it’s only a matter of “mass-producing” the elements that will be in the first chapter. This is similar to what happens between the “pre-production” and “production” stages that is typical of traditional videogame development.

So to make sure we make it on time, from now on we’ve decided to make one-week-long “sprints” instead of a month, up until the official release of chapter One. Production rhythm will surely be a bit frantic, but that’s exactly what the team think it needs.

During this week-long cycle, or Sprint #2 as we know it, we will be tackling the next issues:

  • We’ll draw pixel sketches of all backgrounds.
  • We’ll build a full-chapter, sort-of roadmap of all the different areas of the game so that it can be “traversed” from beginning to end.
  • We’ll design an area for the website that will allow chapter navigation in the style of a webcomic.

About the ARG

A closing note for those of you who are playing the ARG to let you know that the clues to continue the game are still there! As always, please use comments of Update #9 to discuss your progress. Enjoy!

That’s all for us from now. We hope you found this update report to your liking and we invite you to send us your questions and doubts using the comments section. We’ll be happy to answer!

Thank you!

Comments

    1. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Ian Hamilton on February 7, 2013

      Just in case anyone's interested on a bit more detail on the terminology:

      Scrum = named after rugby scrums, because the whole team pushes together to complete the next most important feature. http://www.loneleeplanet.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Rugby-Scrum-in-the-mud.jpg

      Backlog grooming = reviewing a prioritised list of outstanding features and adding / removing / reordering as needed

      Sprint planning = Breaking down the current top priority features into tasks, collaboratively estimating work involved for each task, then using the average amount of work completed in previous sprints to choose as many features as will be possible to complete by the end of the sprint.

      Progress update & task allocation = Each team member briefly states what was achieved yesterday, chooses what to work on today, and lets the rest of the team know about anything blocking his/her progess.

      Sprint review = Evaluate the work produced in the sprint, with any changes needed from the evaluation put into effect immediately in the next sprint.

      Sprint retrospective = Evaluate the way the team worked in the sprint, with any changes needed from the evaluation put into effect immediately in the next sprint.

      There is no project manager in scrum, just three roles. The roles are sometimes shared, sometimes cycled between team members, sometimes approached collectively -

      Product owner = represents business goals, has final say on the backlog items and priority order

      Scrum master = ensures process is kept to

      Team member = the people doing the work

      Hope that's of interest!

    2. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Ian Hamilton on February 7, 2013

      Yep that's one of the key elements of scrum, working to short fixed length iterations, called sprints. At the start of each one you have backlog grooming and sprint planning, and and the end of each one you have sprint review and sprint retrospective. On each day in the sprint you have a daily progress update and task allocation.

      All together it means a collaborative, flexible, iterative approach, able to reinspect and evolve or change direction at every sprint. As you're always planning to have something demonstrable by the end of each sprint, you always have something to see, and are then able to react very quickly to it.

      Devs, do you know yet what the feedback process will be for the beta?

    3. Mebykylestarks.small

      Creator Reid Harris Cooper on February 7, 2013

      Thank you for the explanation behind the Sprint term. While I am highly familiar with Scrumm, sprint was new to me in this particular context. It usually to me means marathon or finish line.

      Everything is looking fantastic btw. I love how you're streamlining everything so when us Betas come in on the 25th we have so much to devour and hopefully not too much to give feedback on other than awesome... but hopefully a LITTLE to give feedback to see a couple changes in between beta and launch.

      I also love how this will the first ever kickstarter comment that will have TWO versions of my face in an art style. Maybe soon they'll be a way to have THREE!

      The one on the twitter by very good friend Rick Parker.

      This one here by Justin Peterson whose kickstarting his third volume of Very Near Mint.
      http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/justinpeterson/very-near-mint-volume-3

      and the third would of course be the exciting awesome and most interesting I expect you guys to come up with.

      Looking forward to it all and hopefully conquering this ARG that makes me excited and frustrated and grr and yay and and and!

    4. Missing_small

      Creator Gordon on February 6, 2013

      That was a fantastic update! Great work guys. Whets my appetite.

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