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  • The Importance Of Team: Lost In The Dark Postmortem

    - Justin Gibbs
  • Lost in the Dark is a third-person exploration horror game for PC designed using the Unreal Engine. It was developed by a team of 17 students at SMU Guildhall over the course of six months. The team was split across art, level design, programming, and production.

    I held the role of producer on this project and worked closely with a team of leads consisting of a game designer, lead programmer, lead artist, and lead level designer. The following information was collected from the team's 360 postmortem at the Guildhall.

    What went well

    • Candid communication developed towards the end of project
    • Designed a game in a genre we had little knowledge/experience in
    • Physical prototypes (ran a haunted house to test mechanics)
    • Team prototyped and iterated rapidly
    • Team unity, when things broke we stayed together and fixed them
    • Leads listened to their developers
    • Giving credit away to people that earned it (two claps)
    • Team was fun and hopeful even during period with low faith in game
    • Open and honest about mood in the room
    • Used each other's skills to ease burdens across the team


    Very early in development there was another Guildhall team that was having an excellent start to the development of their game. This affected the morale in our room as we felt like we were losing a race. I held several talks with the whole team as a group where we committed to focusing on our own path, and not letting outside stressors interrupt our process.

    We put together a culture statement and worked towards meeting those standards for our team. When the team confidence in the game was low, the morale in the room remained high. For example, right before a milestone we had a game-breaking bug rear its ugly head. The team agreed to stay late to fix the bug and stuck together through a tough time. The biggest take-away was the ability of this team to respond to challenges by sticking together and placing the team first.


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