Léonard Remartini

Learning from Mistakes

FAME GRINDER

Some Music

WHAT IS IT?

FAME GRINDER is a Jet Set Radio inspired action-arena 2D platformer conceived over a period of 3-4 months as a University Project.

Around 16 juniors worked on this project.


CREDITS

STUDENTS:

- Léonard Remartini 

(Creative Director / Lead Designer / Lead Narration / Coding / Sprite Art / Concept Art)

- Philippe Turcot-Roy 

(Producer / Designer)

- Joey Bruneau 

(Lead Coding / Assistant Producer / Designer)

- Florence Dubois 

(Artistic Director / Sprite Art / Background Art / Portrait Art / Animations / Concept Art)

- Shania Lafrance 

(Lead Artist / Sprite Art / Animations / UI Artist / Concept Art)

- Sorana M. Sarac 

(Sprite Art / Animations / Concept Art)

- Jessica Bonhomme 

(UI Artist / Concept Art)

- Anne Sao 

(Sprite Art / Concept Art / Narration)

- Alexander Tanasie 

(Narration)

- Arthur D’aragon 

(Narration)

- Philippe Guy 

(Coding)

- Tchun Chao 

(Coding)

- Félix Maltais

(Special Narrative Contribution)

- Justin Defoy

(Special Narrative Contribution)


NON-STUDENTS:

- Wil Helm 

(Lead Music / Composer)

- Jean-Philippe Gauthier 

(Lead Mixer / Sound Integration)



What was Accomplished?

I've carried many roles in this team and learned so much in such a short amount of time, it is astounding. Of course, a lot of this learning was done through mistakes, which is inevitable when you gather 16 people of varying levels of skills and investment, mistakes that hurt the proper completion of the project in time. But no effort is ever truly wasted: And a great amount of effort went into this.


CREATIVE DIRECTOR & LEAD DESIGNER:

I came up with the initial idea and mechanics for FAME GRINDER, built on pillars of simplicity and cool movement. And while it's production process involved the ideas and inputs of many, it was my role to communicate to the team the project's vision and desired Game Feel, as well as make lists of tasks every week with the help of the producer.

That meant I was in a different meeting everyday, and always planning my next meeting, talking to my Leads, making general announcements, and keeping track of everyone's motivation levels. I've made many drawing, diagrams and documents to communicate ideas through this process.


I am sharing some here, in their unedited form:

-Initial Artistic Direction LINK

-Math and Mechanics LINK

-Technical Documentation for Enemies LINK



ART & CODING:As we came up towards our deadline, I've picked up additional task in an attempt to help with the workload in the coding department, taking over the polishing of our Main Character Controls .


And so, I've coded quite a bit in C# for the game and made a couple of characters and UI sprites as well.


LEAD NARRATION:

One of the things I am most proud of in this game project is how I've handled my role in organizing the writing team. There were quite a few hurdles, especially given the academic context in which this game was developed which forced many narrative decisions on us. Nevertheless, I've dissected the workload into tasks, supervised the game's tone and writing, made many diagrams to explain when story beats should happens for our characters and written hundred of pages of documents.


Most of those documents being in French, I will share here only a small example:

-Final Antagonist "Spark" LINK


Spreadsheet about our many characters, when they would appear, what would need to have changed by then, etc.

What was Learned?

Many mistakes were made.


I’ve carried many roles in this team, and perhaps too much. I’ve lived and breathed this project as if my life depended on it. Because I wasn’t ready to cut features and wrongly evaluated the time and speed of my coworkers, I ended up wanting to do many micro jobs while I should have just focused on macro jobs that were already taking quite a lot of my time and rescoped the project for those who were doing the workload. Also, I should’ve organized all my created documentation in a much of readable and easy to find way, and much sooner. Many important design documents were created very late during production, on the thought that everyone would just “remember everything we talked about in our meetings”


We were working before knowing too much about how to run a proper project and schedule people’s workweeks. Since then, I have learned a tremendous amount about RACI, SCRUMS, the AGILE method, Epics and stories, etc.


But most importantly, there was an important job I had as the game’s Creative Director: to test the game through production, and I believe that I didn’t do this nearly enough! I would simply believe when people told me tasks were done and checked them off the list, but never got a taste for the game feel or asked for regular builds. When the deadline approached, I played the game, and realized how far we were from objective and how poor the experienced felt.

Had I played the game sooner, I would’ve had gotten a better idea of the coding team’s strengths and weaknesses, and been able to recalibrate the project sooner so as to play to my team’s capacities.


I realized many things about working with other people during this and many flaws I didn’t know I had until then. But I feel like an entirely different beast for having gone through it now.