At DigiPen we create games every year. During our first year we do shorter games each semester instead of a year long project. REV is the product of our spring semester project our first year. Having busy schedules and keenly aware of the time frame, my team (4 programmers) opted to make a game that was easily within scope for this. REV is a 2D side-scrolling space shooter, which manipulates time.
We knew from the start we wanted to do something simple so lots of time could be spent polishing to make a great little game. The idea behind the game at the beginning was to play as and battle silly doodles done by a day-dreaming programmer as he progressed throughout his day. While this seemed like a fun idea, we inevitably had to cut it due to limited resources and the fact that there wasn’t anything especially interesting about the game play.
After a few brainstorming sessions between I and another dev, we came across a Molydeux game where you could rewind time to save yourself. We were intrigued by this and began to debate its efficacy in a space shooter game. We suggested it as a joke to our tech director and, after a weekend, we had a space shooter with a rewind mechanic.
My role on the REV project was as the producer, sound designer, and one of the programmers, however my primary function was as producer. Managing my team was never a problem, but could be interesting at times. Everyone on the team had different work habits, which if not addressed could have effected the project in a negative way. I took care to communicate with each member early in the development cycle to discover those habits and find ways to work with them. We had weekly work sessions and task lists updated on Trello where team members could easily see the project status and stay on track. The work sessions were a great compromise because it gave everyone a definite time we could connect each week and get solid work done on the game. I also found it helpful to utilize team tools, such as decider, during discussions and disagreements within the team. Weekly status reports were also required and were a great way to meet each milestone with ease.