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  • Writer's pictureKadin White

SoulSync City the good, the bad, and the lessons learned



Now that SoulSync City has gone gold, please check it out by clicking the production work tab from the top of the page :) I thought it would be a great time to have a bit of a post-mortem on the project. I could discuss many of the good, bad, and lessons learned but I will just highlight the biggest ones.

Starting with the bad. From a production standpoint one of the best things I can do is take a step back and see the big picture. Some may or may not know that SoulSync City was an open world game for the first half of its development. We had to strip the game down and rebuild the world from the ground up and we lost roughly a month-month and a half of time we would've had to polish the game in the end. Another bad thing was not establishing pipelines early enough to ensure efficient processes for the entire team. Again it was second semester before the pipelines were enforced and followed more regularly. You wouldn't want to see what our Unity project file organization looks like. If you're looking for a file in there, talk about a needle in a haystack.

But for the bad there's also good. The biggest one is the team itself, Lost Water Studios. Throughout the course of development each member adapted to situations and worked with one another to overcome problems. The team is filled with developers that will go on to do extraordinary things. We were able to stick to the same creative vision of our core mechanics from the very beginning, despite the fact we rebuilt from open world to a linear level design. We tore down the world to build around the mechanics, not change the mechanics to fit the world. We always stood by this idea of move fast with the tools you have that alter movement in unique ways to boost the damage you can do.

Lastly, lets talk about the lessons learned. The biggest thing that I learned is that when communicating project status and tasks one of the best things is producing that information in multiple ways, through text communication, audio/video messages, and through the project management software of choice. Another thing I learned is that making sure pipelines and direction are established as soon as possible and the information on those pipelines can be found in the most accessible places. I mentioned earlier a responsibility I view is seeing the big picture. The signs were there that the world during the first half of development wasn't meshing with our game mechanics. This was in mid to late October of 23. We tried to make it work. There were pros and cons to keeping it open world. One night I had to sit down by myself with headphones on and playthrough the game. This was late November of 23. Being able to do that made me realize, in agreement with the members of the team that approached me in the first place, that if we were to succeed long term then we had to shift from open world to linear levels. Roadmaps, resources and pipelines were adjusted. The rest is history. Lastly the biggest thing I learned, no matter how much you try, communication issues will never be fully resolved. What matters is minimizing those communication issues and addressing them when they arise. This will save any issues in the long run.

Good, bad, and lessons in all, SoulSync City was the most rewarding experience during my time at Bradley, both professionally and personally. I was able to grow as a producer improve my skillset more than I ever have. Even bigger on a personal level being able to work with some of the greatest people and friends ever. I hope to have the opportunity to work with each one of them again someday. Producing and project management is what I love and this experience blew that love to another level. Designing efficient project management solutions to empower teams to be the best they can be is what I hope to do for a long time.


Thanks for reading and take care of yourselves,

-Kadin

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