Working with Experts (Week 1)

JUNE 6 – JUNE 13

Emmanuel got especially creative for this semester’s project phase. Instead of receiving a topic to brainstorm ideas with, we were presented with students from the Uni Köln who had done the brainstorming, and now we had to decide which of them to join.

The Kickoff

Without any prior warning, it was revealed that this semester’s project would be in collaboration with students of geography teaching from the Uni Köln. After a short introduction from their module’s professor, six pairs of students presented their topic and initial ideas on how to create an educational impact game from it. To be honest, I was worried when I saw the presentations. Out of the first five presentations, there was only one I considered joining, while I decided against two teams right away. The final group, Frederick and Lucie blew away the competition though. Not only was their presentation well structured and good content-wise, but they seemed very motivated compared to the others.

After the presentations were done, we were instructed to gather in groups around the Uni students, with at least one member of every specialization each. I went up to Frederick and Lucie right away, and already found a few more interested.  In the end, we had two Programmers, a Designer and four artists to work on the project.

When the “official” part of the kickoff was done, we sat down with everyone from CGL and our two experts and brainstormed for a few hours. We especially focused on which learning outcomes we wanted to achieve, and thought about the game around those. I would say it was a very successful brainstorm, because we could nail down a few important things already, like the learning outcomes.
We made sure to exchange contact data and the usual stuff before we went home.

Impaired Start

I wanted to get into the project as fast as possible, but I didn’t have much time during the first week. There were a couple of tasks left to do for other modules, and I had to organize and host my party, so most of the work-days were spent on that. I did however jumped into git, because if I didn’t get that to work, we would use Unity, and the team had to know that ASAP.

During the initial brainstorm meeting we also decided that everyone would prefer working with Unreal rather than Unity for this project. However, I decided that we absolutely must use source control for such a large group, and I had problems with git and Unreal before
However, with some tips from uni colleagues I managed to get it working after two more attempts. The main two things I had to do here, is to NOT use Unreal’s integrated git version control, and to use a proper .gitignore file.
I got the repository working as intended by the end of week one.

Meetings

Our first pitch at CGL was on the 12th. It went well I’d say, but nothing special happened really.
The day after, we were scheduled to meet with Frederick and Lucie’s Professor, to give him feedback on how the collaboration was going, and to show what we had so far. We more or less repeated our presentation from the previous day.
We stayed a bit longer and discussed with both Frederick and his Professor (Lucie had to go earlier) and got some good feedback from both of them.

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