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SeaFeud Web Poster


Lead Producer | 12-Week Period | 48-Person Team 

SeaFeud is an underwater arcade racer built for PC on Unreal Engine 5, where players ride on a variety of fast, mutated fish. In it, the player can swap fish mid-race to dynamically change their abilities, items, and stats. With eight different characters and three different courses to select from, players can have endless fun racing through beautiful sunken environments.




Among my production duties were...

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Owning the Product Backlog on and collaborating with discipline leads on creating stories, tasks, and CoS

Closing the Project: Defining the "Key Priorities" from Beta to Release to Master (RTM)

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Identifying risks and creating mitigation and contingency plans

Running the User Playtests effort and putting together the reports for the discipline leads team

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Producing and recording the Developer Diary VLOG

Sample Milestone Delivery Document

As Lead Producer, I was responsible for milestone delivery documentation, team oversight, creating risk mitigation and contingency plans, setting Agile-Spiral game development framework, and owning the Product Backlog. I was the primary point of contact between the team and the stakeholders and the chief administrator of user playtests during development. I was the head of an 8-person leads team (1 Lead Producer, 1 Game Designer, 3 Department Leads, and 3 Department Producers). The complete team comprised an additional 13 programmers, 10 artists, and 17 designers.

SeaFeud Post-Mortem

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What Went Well:

  • Communication between the leads team and the stakeholders was well kept throughout the development process. When we knew we'd miss a milestone deliverable, I made sure to give the stakeholders enough of a head's up to manage expectations, buying time and good will for the team. 

  • We cut elements mid-production with careful structure and a calculated communications plan . (see my Game Developer blog post on the subject here)

  • There were a lot of ongoing elements toward the end of development and the project was potentially on course for a difficult landing. I worked with the other leads to create a key priorities plan and reallocated talent resources to ensure we closed the project at the quality we had initially intended. 

  • We ran multiple Games User Research (GUR) tests simultaneously and were quick to filter raw observations and survey results into actionable feedback for the team. The designers were quick with the iterative process and ensured educated, user-tested decisions were implemented. 

  • The leads team held regular check-ins to ensure high priority deliverables met shippable quality expectations. When an otherwise fun feature fell behind others, we ultimately removed it. Therefore, those closest to production quality were instead completed.

  • While there were plenty of stressful moments in development, general team morale and project buy-in was largely kept high. I accomplished this through the performative elements woven into my team announcements and presentation craft (see following section).

What Went Wrong:

  • Especially in the earlier milestones, we had breaks in the communications pipeline where one lead or another would go directly to a team member of a different discipline rather than through the target discipline's lead or producer. This led to conflicting messaging and people being left in the dark. 

  • The UI/HUD team was a team of two software developers and no artists for a significant portion of development. This resulted in a production scramble in the later milestones. Ultimately, some target UX goals had to be cut.

  • The audio team did not regularly document third-party (non-developer created) assets. This resulted in the audio producer and I spending the final days scrambling to ensure all in-game assets were publishable. 

  • Many of the technical requirements for Steam publication on PC were left out until the later milestones, resulting in late-development staffing rearrangement.

  • Significant performance testing was delayed until Alpha. Ultimately the performance team got the game running on a wide array of systems, but at the expense of creating a more stressed environment. 

Even Better If:

  • We made better use of pre-production to flesh out the product backlog.

  • We set discipline-to-discipline communications expectations in earlier in the process and enforced said pipeline

  • We kept a universal document for third party assets from Day 0. 

  • We prioritized the technical requirements and publisher feature requirements during the earlier milestones.

Performative Elements in Presentation

As lead producer, I made sure to keep up consistent team buy-in. During tough stretches, I injected humor and light-heartedness into my morning and afternoon announcements. I found that my team responded well to positive injections of energy and silliness. Below are some examples of my goofy presentation craft and vocal leadership.

When we had to come in on a Saturday to make up for time lost to ice storms, it was obvious nobody wanted to be there. I decided to go out on a limb and give Aragorn's inspirational speech at the Black Gate at the top of our morning announcements. The wording was tweaked to match the specifics of our project and team.

I promised the team a Shakespearean soliloquy tailored to our gameplay if we hit RTM. Above is my fish pun-filled rendition of Hamlet's "To be, or not to be."

As a big believer of team celebration, I hosted a launch party for the SeaFeud team the day it was published on Steam. This involved a live countdown, leading rounds of applause for the discipline leadership and team, and buying a custom cake for the event.

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