Let’s get the hard part of this over from the start. Augural was not chosen to go forward. There were many reasons for this, all of which were valid, but the most important part of it was that we did not create the experience that would have best showcased our game under the context of Capstone. As the team lead I feel like I bear a lot of responsibility for this, but I don’t regret the choices I made. Augiral was a good idea and had a lot of potential in it, but it didn’t show as well as it needed to.
Let’s break this down into a little more depth.
My team and I were trying to sell a game to the faculty and members of the game cohort in a very short amount of time. From the perspective I have gained from completing this semester, I have learned that one of the best ways to sell something to a large group of different people is to find one thing that is fun, and make it look and feel as good as possible. To say it in another way, presentation is incredibly important, and a game that looks and feels flawless in one aspect will present best.
This was not what I chose to do at the beginning of the semester. Augural was an incredibly ambitious game, to the point that I knew from the onset that we wouldn’t be able to hit everything we wanted to do with it in a single semester. For that reason, I chose to brush the surface of as much as possible, to give a taste of the experience Augural’s spellcasting mechanic would create on many different fronts, rather than honing in on a single aspect and polishing it until it reflected.
Looking back on this decision, I am not surprised that it wasn’t enough to go forward, especially when it was compared to the other great games that other groups made this semester. At a quick glance, Augural just couldn’t stand up in comparison. However, after some consideration, I’ve decided I don’t regret taking this approach, because it was an incredibly valuable learning experience. Not only did it give me a chance to see what does, and does not, create interest in a game, it gave me a chance to critically examine and analyze what it takes to bring different, complicated elements together into a single cohesive system.
As I stated in my presentation, and as I’ve known from the beginning, Augural’s systems were supposed to be something that promoted a very different style of gameplay from how spells traditionally work in games. In many respects, although I didn’t recognise this until late in the semester when a friend pointed it out to me, Augural’s combat resembled fighting game mechanics, as players have to quickly and accurately chain a series of moves in order to obtain a desired outcome. In my eyes this made it hard, if not impossible, to create a version of Augural that didn’t have a large number of spells, and which didn’t take place in a large enough space that the player would have reason to utilize them all. Even if I were to go back in time and do the whole thing over again, I do not think there is a way I could change that basic constraint and still create Augural’s intended experience.
From this, I can only conclude that the type of game I hoped to make when I first proposed the notion behind Augural was not an appropriate game in the context of Capstone.
In even more simple terms, Augural was out of scope. And from this experience, I have gained very, very valuable knowledge.
I’ve learned that art makes up at least half, if not more, of a person’s initial assessment of a game.
I’ve learned, no matter how simple an idea might seem to you, if you can’t summarise it in a single sentence, it’s probably more complicated than you think it is.
I’ve learned that things people only complain about when they are missing, like feedback and a good camera, need to be considered just as important as the main mechanics.
I’ve learned that something can only be considered polished once it’s had, at a minimum, a third pass. If something has only received a first pass, it is likely incomplete.
I’ve learned that a hard game can’t also have a steep learning curve.
I’ve learned that motivation and a love for what you are doing will only change how much work you can put out by a little bit.
I’ve learned how to let go of something I love.