There are those that advise avoiding certain types of team name for fear you will be judged badly (Pollack and Wakid, 2011), but not us! We want you to think outside the box, gather behind the box, throw ideas into the box and then set said box on fire. Naming your team is an opportunity to have some fun (Falmouth University 2021).
Prepare for Trouble! Meet Team Rock-it! Three Indie Game Development students and two UX students are blasting off together.
How we chose our team name?
We all threw a few names in the hat and cast a vote for our favourite. The consensus chose Team Rock-it, which is positive, fun and memorable.
Whether you have a ‘high performance’ team in line with the graph above or not, only time will tell. Your team is unique. The chances are, there has never been a team like this. The combination of individual personalities, skills and perspectives culminate to provide the essence of a potential team. There is no one approach to building a team and moving up the team performance curve. Katzenback and Smith found that each high performing team they interviewed attributed their success to a, ‘unique blend of actions, events and decisions.’ In the short term, you should carefully consider your approach to the current two weeks of rapid ideation. This is an opportunity to try out various approaches and see what works for your team. At this formative stage in the project, the focus should be on effective communication, coordination and above all else, alignment of performance goals (Falmouth University 2021).
“Effective communication, coordination and above all else, alignment of performance goals” (Falmouth University 2021).
|Communication & Planning Tools|
The team set up Microsoft Teams, Slack and Miro for everyone to start brainstorming, coordinating our schedule, and working on our pitch and prototype. We also started to contribute to the Rapid Ideation Plan (Google Docs 2021).
While the Slack channel is buzzing with a few ideas and participation from the majority of the team, there is some hesitancy to get involved in planning and documentation from all members. So far only two members of our team have contributed to planning documentation but there is plenty of time for our team to bond and align our goals.
There was no open discussion about tools for the prototype development but another member of the team had experience as a C++ and C# programmer as well as Game Art and 3D modelling. They felt Unity and Maya were the best options for the prototype and I’m excited to learn from their experience.
Rapid Ideation Document
The Team Lead shared a concept called Klubbing and a project proposal already in the making before the Co-Creative Design and Development module to iterate together and expand on the idea. The idea is a realistic virtual nightclub experience, with VR, fantastic sound and hyper-realistic 3D models. Again, they were already in contact with a fashion brand to promote this idea and family involved in the fashion business. They had floated the idea on social media before the module and found there was a positive response.
Virtual Reality and fashion is a sustainable choice; significant events attract the environmental cost of travel by car, train and air! The cost of expensive power guzzling lights, heating and power to that venue. The manufacturing and slave labour cost of purchasing new physical outfits for the big day out.
To support the ideation process, the team researched our team leads big idea. The concept sounded huge, but with careful planning, effective communication and whole team involvement, we can successfully demo the potential for Klubbing. The idea focuses on virtual fashion trends, nightlife experiences and community. Klubbing is more than just clubbing. Klubbing is a lifestyle, a second life, a way to express yourself and immerse yourself. My focus will be on concept art and art direction and so my ideation process started with researching images and illustration.
Reflecting on nightlife
Music experiences designed to be safe and inclusive were always what appealed to my taste. One particular event I frequented was The Secret Garden, which included music, dancing, lego tables, and other creative activities to share and join in together. You could spend time alone, you could dance, you could socialise, and importantly, everyone was welcome except those who were disruptive to a peaceful, fun vibe. I enjoy festivals and outside musical events best, where there’s an option to find quiet, but whatever your vibe is, all of us love music. There is always a buzz, community and kindness that exists in different groups of people brought together to enjoy music.
Similar Virtual Social & Music Experiences
As part of ideation week, together with the team, I researched and shared similar experiences to Klubbing already available:
- Rock Band
- Boiler Room launched a virtual reality clubnight in collaboration with Google. “Boiler Room started with a webcam taped to a wall, opening a keyhole into London’s underground. Since 2010, we’ve built a unique archive spanning over 8000 performances by more than 5000 artists across 200 cities. Today, we remain true to that history. We support emerging artists. We tell stories from the fringes. We connect local dance floors to the wider world” (Boiler Room 2021)
The Pandemic has seen a movement towards virtual experiences including virtual fashion. “Recently, the idea of creating virtual clothing that does not exist in the real world became a reality. The concept came to fruition because Dutch startup The Fabricant, Dapper Labs and augmented reality artists and creator Johanna Jaskowska combined creative forces to create a digital dress called Iridescence” (Fowler 2019).
Virtual Fashion stores:
Virtual Fashion in games
Fortnite now makes “as much money as Amazon” selling virtual fashion “(Swearingen 2018). “It doesn’t cost a penny to play Fortnite. All that cash rolling in comes from players buying cosmetics — new character costumes, parachutes, or dance moves to pull off after downing an enemy. People aren’t shelling out money for an in-game advantage over opponents; they’re paying money simply to look good while playing”(Swearingen 2018).
The option to buy skins and additional items is also available in Minecraft, and fans have made “made more than $1 million by selling in-game items and add-ons through the game’s official Marketplace” (Microsoft reporter 2017).
Fashion Illustration Inspiration
Concept Art for Games
Fred Augis posted his concept artwork for Life is Strange (2015).
Sprint 0 ‘Avatar’
Sprint Goal: Create concept art for the Avatar for Klubbing
The team lead designated tasks out to everyone in a team meeting, my task this week is to create concept art for our 3D modeller to use. Our team leader has already signed up a fashion brand, which the avatar is wearing. I kept the concept simple, to emphasise the t-shirt. The concept is also designed so you can easily switch in new clothes for 3D modelling. My experience in illustration currently does not include working with 3D modellers, so I reached out to a fellow student for feedback and advice:
“I like your character concept a lot, I think that the best thing about it is it’s simplicity… when I look at your concept I know exactly what I’m looking at and who that person is. This also gives the concept a lot of flexibility, if new t-shirt is needed, bam, done! New trousers, no problem 😀 Additionally, if you’re working with 3D artists you just made their job much easier because if they need to add details and texture they can do it as they play around in the software :D” (Ruszala 2021).
The team leader designates tasks out in the team meeting, and the team writes down our objectives in our notebooks. As we are working towards a big project, this technique does concern me slightly. The team is still in the early stages of forming, so I will suggest we start sprint planning and using a tool like Trello and Miro in our next team meeting. In the meantime, I am planning weekly sprints to support the art direction of the project. Hopefully, I can soon share my ideas.
The pressure of working in a team and designing an avatar to a precise brief, and learning new skills took a toll on my confidence this week. I was struggling with imposter syndrome. I could not draw a simple picture, and my progress was slow. I am hyper-aware that my concept art will either make the 3D modellers work far easier or harder! And the pressure of wanting to support the team was getting to me. The challenge of my creative block was overcome by seeking support from a fellow student, although on reflection, I realise that I should have reached out to my team. We are still forming, so my initial reaction was to seek familiarity but asking for help and seeking the advice and skills of the team is one way to support team bonding.
I reached out to the team to show my concept art, and the feedback bolstered my confidence.
List of figures
Figure 1. Communication & Planning Tools [table]
Figure 2. Prototype Tools [table]
Figure 3. Alex CABAL. Unknown. IllustrationX [illustration].
Figure 4. Bijou Karma Unknown. Air Max LA Nike [Illustration].
Figure 5. Fred Augis. 2015. Life is Strange [concept art].
Figure 7. Fred Augis. 2015. Life is Strange [concept art].
Figure 8. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Avatar Concept Colour.
Figure 9. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Avatar Concept Ink.
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HABEKOTTE, Jitske. 2019. Framing the Value of Concept Art An insight into the applicability and development of concept art in the game industry.
HACKL, Cathy. 2021. ‘Why Virtual Dresses And Augmented Fashion Are A New Profitable Frontier For Brands’. Forbes [online]. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/cathyhackl/2020/06/08/why-virtual-dresses–augmented-fashion-are-a-new-profitable-frontier-for-brands/ [accessed 27 Jun 2021].
Life is Strange. 2015. Dontnod Entertainment, Deck Nine, Feral Interactive
LUTKAJTIS, Anna. 2021. ‘Four Individuals’ Experiences during and Following a Psilocybin Truffle Retreat in the Netherlands’. Journal of Psychedelic Studies 5(1), 22–32.
ROSE, Mike. 1980. ‘Rigid Rules, Inflexible Plans, and the Stifling of Language: A Cognitivist Analysis of Writer’s Block’. College Composition and Communication 31(4), 389–401.
Ruszala, Matt 2021
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‘Minecraft Fans Make More than $1 Million Selling In-Game Items through Official Marketplace’. 2017. Microsoft News Centre UK [online]. Available at: https://news.microsoft.com/en-gb/2017/09/05/minecraft-fans-make-more-than-1-million-selling-items-through-official-marketplace/ [accessed 27 Jun 2021].
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SWEARINGEN, Jake. 2018. ‘Fortnite’s Fashion Industry Makes As Much Money As Amazon’. Intelligencer [online]. Available at: https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/12/fortnites-fashion-industry-makes-as-much-money-as-amazon.html [accessed 27 Jun 2021].
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