Shane Breedveld - Games Producer

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General Information

Game Summary

Alien Removal Division is a fast-paced, action-packed first-person shooter, set in a military research facility during the 1950s. The base has been overrun by aliens and you find yourself, as the only survivor, at the center of the invasion.

Key Features

Extensive Moveset
Dash, Grapple, and Wall Run your way through the base as you maneuver your way through different parts of it. Use your skills to climb towering enemies and progress into the deepest reaches of the base.

Gruesomely Gratifying Combat
Engage in gory combat as you tear off limbs and armor discovering different ways to destroy your enemies. Use your movement skills to stay agile against the aliens, fighting back using an arsenal of high-powered weapons that reward their unique purpose.

Massive Aliens
Amongst the many aliens, you’ll encounter massive creatures that can only be taken down by targeting their weak spots and dismembering them. Use your extensive moveset to avoid their attacks and traverse the massive creatures themselves to exploit their weaknesses and tear them apart piece by piece!

Development Information

Team size: 25
Outsourcing: 2 Rigging Artists, 2 Concept Artists and a Tech Artist.
Project Duration: 32 weeks
Engine: Unreal Engine 4
Platform: PC
Store: Steam

Project Role and Responsibilities

Main Role : Producer

  • Setting up team communications as we work remotely during the COVID pandemic, setting up a team contract, and initial planning to provide clarity on project startup.
  • Creating a team structure and appointing Leads to clarify responsibilities and spread the management workload.
  • Facilitating a structure in which daily standups are held as well as show and tell meetings to ensure team alignment and cohesion.
  • Creating a High-Level Planning with a roadmap and dependency overview to assist with sprint planning and monitoring our velocity.
  • Setting up sprints and setting sprint goals. Ensuring that the Agile methodology to how we approach sprints was executed correctly.
  • Creating a Resource Management overview and creating Feature teams from that to allocate personnel where they can be of most value.
  • Onboarding the team to use JIRA effectively as a tool to manage, plan and allocate our work in.
  • Having regular 1-on-1’s with everyone in the team to ensure early identification of personal issues and/or concerns as well as giving everyone a moment to express themselves.
  • Perform Vision holder duties such as creating documents that supported alignment as well as doing team exercises on alignment.
  • Managing communications with Outsource and incorporating their schedule within our planning to minimize dependencies.
  • Setting up a structure for on-location brainstorming allowing sub-teams to come with concept proposals, allowing us to diverge and converge more effectively.
  • Providing and monitoring a Community Management planning and the execution of it. Being tightly involved with the content creation for our social media platforms.

Analysis and Process

In-depth Analysis

Concept Phase:

Starting up the project I set up a strong foundation for our communication, using a developer Discord server to accommodate working from home during the COVID pandemic.

As I am also the project lead, I established a Lead and project structure based on earlier identified competencies associated with these roles, focusing mostly on communicative skills, knowledge of their variation’s work, and ambition to deal with management-related tasks. In doing this a clear report structure was established which provided clarity to all team members involved.

Starting the project and being the Vision Holder I had a big part to play in helping shape the initial concept. Doing this whilst also keeping scope in mind from the perspective of my role as a Producer.
To combine both roles I facilitated on location brainstorming sessions which would turn into different concept pitches from which we could select and combine elements resulting in our final concept.

Identifying that an Agile project structure was best for this part of development and seeing the fluidity in which we need to be able to iterate and adjust I set up JIRA which would allow us to support a Sprint-based structure. This structure would prove to help our iterative process and improve our productivity massively as we would reflect regularly before moving forward learning from our progress as a team.

I hereafter created a High-Level Planning which would be the foundation for each sprint, identifying key deliverables, dependencies and being able to adjust our overall planning where possible if unaccounted setbacks would happen during sprints. It was also during this time that the Risk Log and S.W.O.T. analysis would be used to help identify potential issues and opportunities in the future.

To get accurate data I would meet regularly with the Leads so that they could report identified risks and changes to the planning allowing me ample time to produce countermeasures or adjust the scope if needed.

To finalize the concept phase the outsource teams were onboarded to the team’s planning which allowed us to plan outsourcing content ahead ensuring the feasibility of key deliverables dependent on outsourcing.

Pre-Production Phase:

Moving into Pre-production I looked at the needs of establishing pipelines for production which could speed up the workflow for involved variations or sub-variations. Assisting and facilitating these pipelines proved to have a lot of value later in development. These pipelines were established in close communication with associated leads and team members to ensure the functionality and applicability of the pipeline.

During this time, I also assigned a QA Lead and helped him prepare a planning and pipeline for the bug fixing and QA that our game would need. Not having a big team would lead to everybody having to chip in for QA which required me to prepare proper onboarding within the team for this process. The result of this was easy identification of bugs and measurable data regarding fix rates and critical errors.

It was in this phase of the project where after some personnel setbacks I also had to re-evaluate our scope and the projects feasibility. While we had to lower our project scope a bit this was kept to a minimum as I attracted additional outsource talent and manpower to aid in our development. Doing this combined with focusing our resources on the key deliverables allowed us to deliver a polished Steam Demo as we participated in the Steam Next Fest successfully.

Doing regular sprint retrospectives and 1-on-1s throughout the project has allowed me to always have a clear indication of how we as a team can learn and improve moving forward as well as manage expectations. This so far has been key to our success and showcases the importance of people management.

*A.R.D. is currently still in development, this section will be updated throughout development accordingly.*

On-site brainstorming sessions using a priority grid.

Concept Phase S.W.O.T. analysis overview.

In-Game Screenshot Pre-Production

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Steam Demo Trailer

Bug Reports including fix rates

Production Documents

JIRA Velocity Tracking Document

I used a document that could take the exported data from tasks and issues within JIRA and import that into an Excell sheet to see individual velocity, this allowed me to tackle dependencies that might surface due to lack of productivity or blockages more easily.

Risk Log

I maintained a Risk Log to help structure risk identification as well as producing countermeasures to these risks. Additionally I kept a papertrail of changes made to the risks or countermeasures using the comment system in Excell. Allowing for easy onboarding of team members on these risks.

High Level Planning Roadmap

The High Level planning I created was first made in Excell and then later moved to to easily visualize our roadmap and dependencies. This has helped us identify development bottlenecks easily and prepare countermeasures for them.

Shane Breedveld