For this project, we were asked by Steph from the Student Services staff to help plan activities that new students could play during orientation week. She wanted the activities to help the students feel welcome on campus, know the layout of the campus and help with their paperwork.
At the end of the trimester, our final product would be a game manual listing the activities with all the necessary information (description, set up, how to play etc).
Update: due to the exhibition night, Steph was unable to collect the completed game manual, so we are organizing a meeting with her next week to hand it over and do our final presentations on the same day.
What Went Right
One of the things we had going for us in the client project was the amount of research that went into it. We looked into alternative reality games (ARGs), watched a heist movie (Heat, 1995) to get ideas, played Burgle Bros and read up on player tiering as part of the research we did for the game. Even looking at the statistics for popular Escape Room themes that appealed to both genders equally.
Throughout the project, we had created numerous documents (spreadsheets, documents and the odd slideshow here and there) ranging from research to what would ultimately be in the manual itself. We only needed to nail down what the story before we could put the manual together with the activities we felt were suitable. As everything was already documented, it was easy to put the manual itself together by moving the relevant parts into the document and expanding upon it.
What Went Wrong
Project Management / Time Management
The biggest thing that went wrong was time/project management. Most of us had two full-time projects that we were already working on (Studio3 Collaboration project + CIU), leading to most of the class slacking off on the client project. As a result, we spent most of our time focusing on those two projects and only worked on the client project during class time. Even though our Thursday class was 6 hours long, it was not enough time to get the manual done. We should have done some of the work outside of class even if it was for 30 minutes or an hour. It would have gone a long way to ensuring the client project was completed on time.
We had very lax project management which meant most of the class only had a general idea of the tasks we needed to do. If we implemented a plan for managing the project, or a clearer breakdown of the tasks. It would have helped if we had nominated someone to act as the project manager as well. To keep track of where we were, what still needed to be done and make sure the class got it done by the deadline.
Most of the class elected to focus on their other projects (e.g. Studio3 Collab + CIU), therefore most of us did not do much work on it unless it was during class time. This lead to the realization at week 11 at how much work we had left for the client project, and the likelihood it would not be done by week 13 unless we all worked hard within the time left. As a result, we had to complete as much work as possible within class hours to ensure we were back on track and had a chance to complete it on time. Even then, we doubted we would be able to make the deadline.
To avoid this next time, we should have a project management system in place (e.g. HacknPlan) where we can break tasks down and allocate it amongst the class. As well make sure we work on the project throughout the week, even if it is for thirty minutes and balancing our other project work. The project was essentially complete with the spreadsheets and game rule documentation we created earlier, we just needed the narrative nailed down to move us along so we could choose the activities and decide how the activities would transition from one another.