This is largely going to be a bit depressing, as the end result of the project was less than the best use any member of the team had previously produced, but there are some positives to acknowledge so I’ll start there.
The project in question was to create a reveal trailer for a rebooted rendition of the game ‘Chrono Trigger’, specifically using a title reveal.
Planning and Pre-production
Early in the project there was solid input from a the majority of the group and everyone had a clear vision of tasks that they then set out to do. We reached a point early in the piece where a rough animatic was in place and there were clear foundations for where we were going to take asset aesthetics. Several documents were compiled for individual tasks with a fairly comprehensive view of what would be required to complete the original plan for the scene, which would contain character assets and a variety of building set-pieces. Documentation overall at this stage was comprehensive, with only a couple of uncertainties as to where the audio was coming from.
This is about the point where things start to go wrong, but the following still contains the good with the bad, just not so much that I can exclusively claim it as such.
The Not So Good
Most of the initial momentum we possessed began to fall apart after the second week. It wasn’t even a matter of no communication taking place but more that there were ‘too many cooks’ as the old saying goes. Though we had outlined people to be in charge of managing certain tasks in the first week this was largely ignored and conflicting instructions began to come from too many places. I’m not going to name names, it was an overall issue tell the truth, but there was definitely more of an issue created by certain members trying to take charge over others. It was later decided that I was group leader but it was more done out of necessity than any other reason and again there wasn’t much authority involved in the end, for which I can’t really blame anyone but myself. The addition of Matt, who had been absent the first few weeks, came as something of a blessing as he wasn’t having a bar of the disunity and set about sorting out proper meeting plans in short order, but it likely came a little too late in the long run. I do thank him for trying to salvage a bad situation though in regards to the general lack of direction we had put ourselves in.
I can’t speak for anyone else as to why this was an issue. I myself had a sudden and generally poorly timed influx of shifts from a job which has since ceased to exist right in the middle of the project, but even then I will acknowledge that I could have given a couple of extra hours a week to the task at hand. Probably this issue relates largely back to the previously discussed communication issues but it seemed like any interest people had in the project began to dwindle a bit. Again, it’s not as bad as it perhaps could have been, on the whole there was still effort from everyone, but it wasn’t directed well. Likely my fault when it’s all said and done.
Knowledge Basis vs Scope
Having had a good amount of time to consider things that went wrong I also believe this to be a major point of discussion. We went with a largely 3D production in a group with a pretty even split, on a scale that was going to require the full amount of time from all members producing assets at their most efficient. We could have probably better used our 2D artists for texturing, as this was the original plan, given we were trying to create a style that had all the comic book poster-painted whimsy of Akira Toriyama’s original designs for the game, which came out really good where it was used (thanks TK), but that again fell through to a larger degree in miscommunication as the project wore on.
Overall I’d put it down to a familiarity issue. Most of the group hadn’t worked together before, we didn’t know each others’ bases of strength terribly well, and didn’t accommodate for such in how ambitious we made of plans. I blame myself a lot here, but I was pretty instrumental to this mistake, as a big issue with the Seven Samurai project had been giving people enough to do with the relatively simple task we planned for the result, so I rather foolishly suggested taking this over Sinistar, which I feel we could have done more with in a much less bloated fashion.
I’ll finish by saying everyone involved should still be proud of their individual achievements, even if they didn’t mesh that well. There was a few cool things, and it can only get better.