THANK YOU! USW GAMES MASTER CHEY WEBB!
And just like that it’s the last week!
This week is just like all the others really. We had product cafe on monday, bug triage on wednesday. It’s become a bit of a routine so it’s weird that it’s the last time. We had a couple more meetings with folks too. We got to talk to Chloe, who does UI! Her work is wonderful and I was curious how she got to be here. She told us about her career and made sure we knew that the most important thing is putting yourself out there. It’s kinda scary to do but you never know what’ll come of it! I’m trying to keep that in mind. Now that I’m thinking about it I should have asked her more practical things about UI since I’m not all that good at it. How do you know what size to make things! I still don’t know. I’ve been admiring her work, and I think everyone will appreciate it when they get their hands on the app.
We had a meeting with the OPS team too. They’re kind of a mystery to me even now. I guess they’re like marketing? They sort of connect the technical nerd stuff to the rest of the world? Seems like they work with lots of people! They also work on stuff like video, voice recording and merchandise. It must take a lot of work to keep organised! It was interesting to hear from them and get to see a little bit of what they do.
I’m so grateful to everyone who’s given their time to talk to us about their careers and imparting their wisdom. I’ve learned a lot in these short six weeks. It’s been an amazing experience and I’m so glad I got to do it! I remember not being sure I would even apply, since I was busy and we had to submit a video application which is not my favourite. (Listening to my own voice? No thanks.) Now I’m super glad that I did, and I’m grateful I was accepted!
If you’re in undergrad I would fully recommend grabbing at any opportunity you get! Especially if you’re a marginalised person. It can be extra scary doing things but we need good people to get opportunities like this! So make sure you try!
Everyone at Fictioneers has been so lovely and welcoming. I think it’s helped build my confidence, getting a little peek into the industry. It’s not as scary as you might think. Everyone has said the same too; that networking is key! I was fully aware that the games industry can be a bit insular and it’s important to know people. While I’m not sure that’s good it is how it is, luckily the people we met were so keen to talk to us and friendly too. I think now I can be a bit more confident about talking to people in the industry, we’re all the same really. Just, doing our best.
As messy as my schedule has been, and as tired as I am, I wouldn’t trade this opportunity. It’s been such a wonderful experience. I’ve enjoyed working on it, and we’ve been told we can keep doing so if and when we want. I’m gonna keep testing every so often, and I can’t wait to see the finished release! (Or at least the release, I don’t think apps are ever really finished) I’m excited to see when Fictioneers does next too! Every little glimpse of their work has been so interesting!
I guess this is it for now! See ya later, stay safe everyone!
week 5 time to feed back: Dafydd and Chey present at sprint review
USW GAMES ENTERPRISE MASTER CHEY WEBB WEEK %
So I moved last weekend, busy busy busy as always. But it’s time to check in with you all!
I can’t believe the internship is already almost over! It feels like it’s been no time at all. As part of the internship they asked us to present at one of the sprint review meetings, and just talk about how the process has been. So we started the week with planning for that.
In sprint review everyone has to show what they’ve been up to, so we started off in a planning session with the design team. It was a really chill start to the morning to be honest. We got to have a little relaxed chat while we all worked on our own slides for the presentation. It was nice!
The presentation itself was pretty standard and easy. I’m used to public speaking since they drill it into you in undergrad. It isn’t too formal of an atmosphere either, it’s chill. So I just spoke honestly about what the experience was like, like I do here, and about what I felt I’ve learned. I think everyone was a bit shocked to hear that I felt they’d given us lots of good advice. Which in itself is kinda lovely, it’s very much the adult feeling of knowing everyone is just winging it half the time.
During the week we had the regular bug triage session, plus we got to sit in on the sprint planning session where everyone locks down what they’re doing for the next two weeks. It was pretty business as usual! Sometimes there’s not a hell of a lot to talk about y’know. I guess I’ve been a bit surprised about how much of the work is sitting in meetings. I know everyone else has more than we do, but from my own experience I know how important it is to keep everyone on track and on the same page. Plus Fictioneers has so many different departments despite it being a relatively small operation. It must take a lot to keep them so organised!
A bit ago we were given the task of testing out a specific function in the app, as well as testing for how much it drained our batteries. I’ve been testing out these AR bits a lot over the last couple of weeks, (though it’s been a little tricky dodging moving boxes) and making notes for myself of problems that seem to pop up. I decided I would make a formal report with my testing findings. Since there were specific things to test for it made sense to me to format it a bit better than just saying them when they pop up. Plus if I’m making notes as I go I can follow them up later with more testing. For example I had an issue with one part where the order in which you did things really messed it up. So I was able to go back in and test every permutation and combination to pinpoint what exactly was making it mess up. It’s a bit like solving a mystery! You have to look at all the angles to try to figure it out. It was nice to use stuff I’d learned in class while working on it. So I was able to produce a fairly thorough report on my findings! I was really happy that it went down well with the team! Owen put it all into the system too, so it was really nice to see my stuff pop up during bug triage.
This week was chock-a-block with things to do! From all the typical meetings, to having additional talks with specific members of the team, and even giving our own small presentation at the sprint review. This was by far our busiest week yet!
To prep their presentation for the sprint review the design team hold a little meeting an hour or so before the review, and since Dan and I were going to be talking we were welcomed to add our own slides. We had prepped ahead and put some slides together the night before, making sure to include lots of fun gifs and even a silly picture of me in the famous techno trousers.
The assets team presented first and then the design team followed. Whilst best to get our little presentation out of the way, Dan and I were incredibly nervous to present so soon. Even though everyone on the team is so lovely, it’s such a different experience giving a talk via a webcam call. It’s hard to know where to look, and not seeing people’s body language to be able to read the room is particularly intimating. But once we got started it became much easier! We had so much to say about our time with the team, everything we’d learned, and just being able to thank everyone for being so welcoming. We got such a wonderful reception from everyone at the sprint; definitely a highlight of the internship so far!
As with every sprint so far, lots had been achieved over the last two weeks! Lots of new assets were added to the game, prototyping later stages of the story, reducing texture sizes to save memory, and so much more!
I also got to attend my first sprint retro this week. In this meeting everyone makes notes of what went well during this sprint, areas that need to be improved, and discussion on how this can be done. A big thing that was well discussed in the sprint was how some members of the unity team had been asked to work on a super secret project. This in turn affected how many unity related bugs could be fixed and how much new content was being created. This side project also coincided with other team members’ pre-booked holidays. This was interesting to observe as an intern, to see that projects aren’t always straight forward, and sometimes things happen that mess with the workflow, but can’t be avoided. It was really great to see how these problems were being brought up and discussed through thoroughly to see how they could be addressed.
The bug triage meeting on Wednesday was quite similar to the past sessions, but an interesting point raised occurring in the next update is testing the staggered timeline feature. It’s something I wouldn’t have even thought about when making a story-based app, but it’s such an interesting thing to consider! Once the user joins the app they will be on a specific timeline of when the next events and task will be able available to do, but what happens if you don’t download the app when it’s first released? Will you be able to catch up all at once or take everything at your own speed? Previously, we had been testing with everyone one on the same timeline, but this new staggered timelines allows everyone to play through the game at their own pace, and with this play through the team can test how well this works and find any bugs it may cause. So it’ll be cool to see how this plays out and also if it affects the way we interact with the app.
Because it was sprint review week, we also attended the design teams own mini review. It was intriguing to see how unity-based tasks were put on hold to add less stress to the few members of the unity team available to work on them. The design members went through and prioritised the most important tasks, and also made notes of things that need to be discussed with other members of the team and things to bring up in future meetings.
We had two talks this week with specific members of the team, first with Codey one of the animators and ‘engine gurus’ on the project and then with Danie and Lee who do 3D modelling for the app. They each went through their own journey through industry and gave lots of tips and knowledge. Without reciting their fascinating work life in detail, I’ll try and summarise some of the standout points they made below and share the wisdom:
In our weekly catch up session with the design team we talked about how useful and enjoyable our getting into industry chats have been, and hopefully we’ll be having a few more next week. We also talked about app struggles specifically for iphones, plus we were set a little task to test out specific app jobs whilst monitoring battery percentage, to make sure the tasks can be carried out back to back without using up too much battery life.
This week has been incredibly insightful and I can’t wait for even more talks next week learning about other people’s journeys through industry! Definitely check back in next week for my final report and hopefully more helpful tips for entering into the creative industry.
USW GRADUATE DAFYDD JONES GETS WELCOME ADVICE FROM FICTIONEERS
USW GAMES ENTERPRISE MASTER CHEY WEBB wEEK 4
Wowowow! This has been my favourite week yet!
This week we were treated to a bunch of meetings with people from Fictioneers! The best part of the internship is getting to see lots of people do really cool stuff!
We started off the week with the usual sessions and on Tuesday we had our first meeting! The interns got treated to a look behind the scenes on the app and see how it all works! The Big Fix Up is doing some amazing stuff with storytelling, and I guess to do amazing stuff you need amazing tools. We got to take a look at the software that makes the story work. Essentially it’s a timeline, with little blocks representing different parts of the story. Something super cool about The Big Fix Up is that the story takes place in real time! We got to see how they control that and how the app knows what to do and when. It was mind blowing! I’m not a programmer so it’s all a little bit like magic to me, still seeing the software made me want to get my grubby little hands on it!
Next we spoke to Lee! He was amazing, he took us through his whole journey in the games industry. It was really interesting getting to hear personal stories mixed in with his working biography. Later he talked about more recent things and how The Big Fix Up came to be. I don’t know how to rephrase it, as to not sound repetitive, but it was all just… so interesting!
We got to interrogate him about his design process too! Well I did because I love to hear about it. It’s really neat when you’re a designer, to get to hear others’ philosophies and ideas, it’s a good way to expand your thinking! If you hear lots of peoples’ takes on their own practice, it gives you a really good insight into how they work. I really recommend listening to people about their work!
We also got to talk to Susan! I was kinda nervous about it to be honest, she’s such an accomplished person, it’s scary. She told us lots of behind the scenes stuff too, she was so nice and peppy, it turned out not-so-scary after all.
It was a busy week! But also the most interesting week we’ve had! It’s definitely a big plus of this internship, getting to have these little meetings with professionals in our industry. I feel like I’ve said it before but, it’s still refreshing to know that they’re like, real people and not big scary professionals. I guess that’s part of moving on from university, understanding that these people are your peers now. It’s strange. But it’s nice.
I feel like they’ve taught us lots of little tips for our careers, and even when they don’t I feel like I’m learning lots.
I’m grateful to everyone for taking time to speak with us! It’s been so valuable. Thank you!
Being over half way into the internship the schedule has become really familiar and even with some technical issues affecting testing, the week has flown by.
We started the week as usual with the product café session. Even though these sessions have been going on since the start of the project, it’s incredible to see what new suggestions arise to improve the game. Simple things like using one of the characters to notify the player of app “maintenance”, rather than an update message from Fictioneers as it feels more immersive within the story world. Even elements of the app that would be considered finished are still being critiqued and tweaked, so that the user has the best experience when they get the final product. I was confident enough to bring up a few suggestions, such as how a certain area of experience isn’t being frequently used and that its intention doesn’t feel clear within the game right now. We discussed how this area is still a big work in progress in the app, so it’s exciting to how it will develop when more content is added and if this will give it a clear intention.
The timeline got reset on Tuesday, so we all had a new build to play through. But along with this update were a few major bugs… The team had hoped to run through the whole story, from start to finish, specifically so we could follow the story flow and test later parts of the game, which haven’t had much previous testing, in more detail. The scale of some of the bugs meant that the timeline would have to be reset again later in the week in order to fix them. I was really surprised by how unfazed the unity team were at the amount of work that needed doing, and even more surprised that they managed to get a new version up and running by the end of the week!
This was discussed on Wednesday’s bug triage session as well as some other bugs to fix in the backlog. It was also cool to see some of the bugs that I had reported being discussed, knowing that all the little contributions and notes us interns raise are making a difference to the app!
At our end of week catch up with the design team we went over how the timeline would be reset again due to the temperamental new build. They explained that it was a part of the process and things like this happened frequently in industry. It’s always better to learn how to deal with these issues now rather than later down the line, closer to release.
I ended the week with a catch-up session with one of the design team members. We discussed my interactions with the app and my understanding of the story. It was interesting to retell the story in my own words and see how I had interpreted events and characters. I had so much love for certain characters, and really enjoyed parts of the story I hadn’t initially realised until I voiced it out loud. So, I’m excited for the game to be released and for everyone to hopefully experience the story with as much affection for it as the team and I have!
We have some really exciting meetings with some members of the team lined up next week, and I can’t wait to discuss their journey into industry and share some of their tips with you! So, tune in next week for more intern adventures.
· Bright Spark Apprentice Chloe
DEDICATION TO THE TEST : USW GAMES GRADUATE Dafydd Jones discusses HIS RESEARCH AND QUALITY testing STRATEGIES
Ah, my manic schedule, I will not miss you.
It’s everyone’s favourite time of the semester for me! Final hand-in! So this week has been a little hectic for me. Luckily I planned my time pretty well so I’m not rushing much. The stress is still very much present however. So I’m away for a bit this week. Additionally, there were a bunch of bugs last week that made it so we needed to be given a new build. A lot of our stuff got reset and the feeling of knowing what I was doing from last week? Gone.
At last week's bug triage they showed everyone a template for reporting bugs which was super helpful for me! I copied it out into my journal for later, It goes like this:
User Device- (Make and model of phone)
Steps to reproduce- (How you got to the bug, what did you do?)
Expected result- (What should happen)
Actual result- (What the bug did)
Evidence- (Screenshots and videos of it happening)
It was really good to have a formal way to report bugs instead of just saying them in the slack channel, hoping they’re useful. I was able to play the game a lot and report a bunch of bugs after we got that. Good to feel useful!
Sprint review time! The team has sprint reviews at the end of every sprint, which is every two weeks. It’s a time to review the progress that happened over the last two weeks. It’s always a fun meeting because you get to see so much work that you aren’t even aware of! It feels like everyone is doing so much and has different things on the go, I’m not sure how the team leaders coordinate it all! I love seeing everyone’s work but I admit the highlight is the art team because they get to show off pretty things. I’ve also been enjoying seeing Chloe’s UI artwork! As someone who isn’t a UI artist but has to do it anyway I’m very much in awe of how neat and lovely the UI looks.
I came back from school panic just in time for the weekly catch-up. This week we were given a proper goal! The team needs us to play through a specific part of the app. It’s mostly testing Unity stuff, so lots of stuff that can go wrong. I’m excited to get into it! I’m gonna write up a proper report since we have a proper goal!
We also have a lot of meetings set up next week where we can talk to people from the team and get to know them and how they got here!
Exciting week ahead!
Bright spark apprentice chloe kacperski week 3
It was interesting to see that what we found out in last week’s catch up session with the design team - that the design staff don’t use that area much when testing - was also true for the staff attending the ‘product café’ session. So, it will be very interesting to find out how much time the new interns spend in this section of the app and see if there really is a correlation.
This week was also our second sprint review. Personally, this was one of the highlights of the week, as the progression from that last sprint review, only a fortnight prior, was outstanding! The app has developed so much in that short span of time. I have to give a particular shout out to the Art Assets team for having done such a high volume of work, and I can’t wait to see it implemented in future updates. Although the internship has a focus on the gameplay aspects of the app, I really enjoy hearing from the Operations team and learning about the marketing side of things. It’s exciting to know about celebrities being asked to voice act certain characters and also learn about possible partnership deals, which will help to promote the product.
It’s been incredible to be so involved with Fictioneers and to experience the process of ground-breaking app development, especially in the midst of a pandemic. I did some work experience at the beginning of the year and had hoped to return to that company in the summer for further experience, but unfortunately was unable due to the Coronavirus. So, this internship has been such a fantastic opportunity that I’m lucky to be a part of. The whole team has adapted so efficiently to the change of working environment and because of team meetings like the sprint review being done virtually I’ve met such a wide range of staff members, who I may not have otherwise met if the internship had been carried out in person.
As we had a sprint review this week it also meant we got to attend the Design team’s own personal sprint review. It was interesting to see what they had achieved in more detail and how they organised the incoming and ongoing jobs, working towards the future sprint review. This week there was a reset of the timeline and lots of new features had been added, so it was cool to see the in-app notifications the Design team created being implemented. The Design team are also handling user experience research with testing sessions. Hopefully in the upcoming weeks we will be able to sit in on interviews with actual game testers and learn about their experience with the app, whilst also taking note of how this type of user feedback is collected in a professional industry standard way.
With more implemented in the app and frequent updates I’m sure there will be more bugs to find and suggestions to be made, so check back in next week to see how my intern adventure advances!
-Bright Spark Apprentice Chloe
This week we welcomed Chey and Dafydd to the intern team! It’s been great to have some fresh faces and also see them experience everything Dan and I experienced only a couple of weeks ago. How time flies!