This is the first of my weekly reviews. I’m starting this to help keep track of what I’m doing and and to set forward goals.
The past two weeks have been a mix of new and old projects, including business-oriented project planning web applications, a World of Warcraft data sync, and two game development projects.
I use Asana to manage my teams tasks. Asana is very simple and flexible, but is missing some features we need to keep track of our sprints and better organize our tasks and Kanban board.
One of these missing features is a burndown chart based off of effort estimation. I’ve been building out our own burndown chart in an Electron app using Google Charts to display the statistics and feeding in the task data from Asana using their API. At this time I’ve got the chart but also a break out of the effort we’ve committed and the effort we’ve knocked out.
This has already proven to be really helpful, as we now have an easy way to track our progress and see the sum of effort completed at the end of the week.
Asana supports custom fields, but doesn’t allow us to make them required. Requiring the effort estimation for a new task would be ideal. In addition there are a few other events where I would want additional info provided, such as when a task is labeled as blocked, a due date is passed, or a new task is added to the sprint.
To solve these problems, I’m building out a Slack chat bot using the Botkit framework. So far I’ve been learning the ropes of what the chat bot can do and building out the groundwork.
Global Game Jam 2018 took place at the end of January. It was hosted locally here in Sacramento at Square One Clubs. I participated as much as I could, but unfortunately I had some family obligations that prevented me from making it down to the site.
For my game, I created a first person puzzler in a 3D world. I used it as an opportunity to get more familiar with Blender and Unreal Engine. With this being a learning experience, I didn’t get as far as I would with tech I was already familiar with. Overall, it felt like a success. I am now much more comfortable making shapes and applying textures in Blender. I also learned what is lost while exporting a blender project into Unreal, such as shaders that are closely tied to the rendering engine.
Alright, so lets take a peek and go over some stuff!
My game takes place in a testing grounds with various platforms and standing orbs. In this first iteration, it takes place in space, but after building out the platforms that idea didn’t seem to pan out so well, for reasons I’ll go into shortly. The skybox texture was created using a premade texture from SpaceScape, a free tool for creating space skyboxes.
Unreal is a very powerful engine with some very useful tools in prototyping a scene. You can create shapes in the scene on the fly. Unfortunately (at least as far as I know) those custom shapes, known as brushes, are their own object type and I couldn’t find an easy way to convert them into components for reuse. I imagine it’s possible, the answer just wasn’t easily at hand. I created the octagon platforms and the orb with stand using brushes.