Assembling your team
Making a game requires a number of different skills – it is rare for games to be developed by an individual working alone. More people working together means more creativity, different ideas, a variety of perspectives, and ultimately more fun when making your game!
The Australian STEM Video Game Challenge is intended to be a team exercise, and students may enter the competition working in teams of between 1–4 members.
It is a requirement of the ‘Challenge’ that every team have a Mentor - a nominated adult (18+) that will be the person that communicates with the Australian STEM Video Game Challenge Admin team, and who can help to keep the team on-track while developing their game. The Mentor will be required to register the team, and will ensure that the GDD and final game are submitted. Good candidates for mentors include teachers, code club facilitators, parents and family members including older brothers/sisters. Finding a mentor for your team should be your first step.
Managing your project
Building a successful game is all about good project management. You can have the best idea in the world, but if you can’t make it a real and workable thing, then a good idea is all it will ever be!
Once you have your idea – make sure you plan it out! Then write your plan down so everyone knows what the plan is.
Use these questions as a guide:
- What are the steps required to make our idea a reality?
- Create a timeline:
- How long do we have?
- How much time should we allow for each step?
- How much extra time should we allow in case something goes wrong?
- Who is going to be responsible for what aspects of the project?
- How often are we going to meet and work together?
Thinking about these things and planning your project out at the beginning, could make the difference between finishing and not finishing your game. Your Mentor will be able to help you plan out your project and guide you through the process.
Top Tip – Include your plan in your GDD!
Setting up your team
Working in teams can be challenging, but it is an important skill – not just for developing video games, but in all aspects of life from school, to sport, to family and of course in the workforce.
You can choose to assign roles within your team. This does not mean that they are not involved in other aspects of the game development. It simply means that they can ensure that their aspect of the project is being worked on and progressing as planned.
Some suggested roles are:
Game Designers designs the rules and the structure of the game, making sure that players can easily understand how to play the game. They need to think about the gameplay, the goals of the game, the balance of challenges and rewards, feedback to the player, levels and increasing difficulties.
Audio Designers create sound effects, compose background music, and provide other auditory elements, such as the voices of the characters.
Artist / Visual Designer
Artists, or Visual Designers, are responsible for creating the look and graphic design of the game, and ensuring it remains consistent throughout the game.
A relatively technical role, the Programmer writes any code required. Depending on what platform you use, there may be none, minimal or a large amount of coding required.
Storytellers and Script Writers work on developing the story and context behind the video game. They think about what is happening in the game and how the story will progress through the game.
Testers are responsible for testing the game and ensuring that there are no glitches or technical problems. It can be a good idea to use testers that have not been involved in the making of the game. The reason for this is that you will make assumptions because you have so much in depth knowledge of your game. Someone new won’t necessarily make these assumptions and will give you a truer reading of the user experience.