Sunday, 1 June 2008

Roles in Module Assignments

One question that comes up very often in group assignments is: Can we work in groups of 2 / 3 / 4?

Most of the assignments I write have mandatory requirements of 2 members and only 3 where the numbers in the class are odd.

If a group is well organised, the team can benefit from having 2 to 3 members for small Module Assignments.

For example, a team of 3 people for a programming assignment (Console Game Development / 3D Game Development / fill-in-your-module-name) may organise themselves as such:

1. Graphics / Engine Programmer - takes care of the nuts and bolts of the game engine such as camera, models, physics (collision), input handlers.

2. Gameplay Designer / Programmer - designs the gameplay mechanics and logic AND programs those. This is a small project so you'll save time and manpower by being the game designer and programmer at the same time. It also gives you a good idea of what's possible and what's not logically and pragmatically.

3. Modeller / Graphics Artist - this role is optional and nice to have (READ: Non-critical). A dangerous position to be in in a programming assignment, as your teammates can / should easily be able to locate simple public domain models or art without you. Programmer's art is always acceptable in a programming module assignment. If you do take up this role, strive for excellence and support the requirements of your team as far as possible.

On the other hand, a disorganised team can have overlap of roles which may not only create duplication of work, but also unneccesary dependencies. The worst case scenarios may have sleeper members who clock in simply for the credit at the end of the project.

Choose your members carefully and plan your work well at the beginning for a successful delivery.

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