Monthly Archives: February 2014

Where does the time go?

Making video games is HARD.  Anyone that says otherwise can’t be trusted.  It’s fun, engaging work that you can get lost in, but it takes up a lot of time.  I can’t believe we’re already closing in on the end of February.

For those of us in the EAE program that means we’re nearing the presentation of our thesis games to a panel of industry experts on March 3rd.  This is a huge occasion for all of us and it means that we’re just going to be busier than ever in this next week and a half leading up to that.

It can be easy to get stressed in this time leading up to such a big event but I think it’s during these times that we as producers get to shine.  If we’ve been doing our job correctly, we have a plan for the remaining time and we’ve had this date in mind from the very beginning.  Having a plan allows us to check our work along the way and make sure that we’re not falling behind.

On our Agoraphobia game we’ve had some challenges, one of the foremost being the simple fact that conveying a feeling of agoraphobia through a video game seems nigh impossible.  A second challenge is that our game takes place in and around a spherical world, rather than a on top of a flat plane like the majority of games; this has given our engineers a lot of difficulty.

Despite our struggles we’ve had a good plan for the future and an awareness of what we absolutely must have and I feel confident that we’ll be ready for the big pitch next Monday. The game is certainly different than it was when we first started working on it, but I’m really proud of what it’s become.  We have to record a video for the pitch so next week I’ll upload that and talk more about the specifics of the game, rather than just the things we encounter in developing it.

I’ve had some good meetings with professors this week and that has given me a lot of good insight and tips for how to handle the pitch, which I’m very excited for!  And soon we have spring break and GDC, so it’s going to be a very eventful few weeks!

Also-  Protocol:Transcendence won 1st place in the popular vote of the app contest that we entered!  That’s $2500 for the team, and we couldn’t be happier.  It was great to see the support from everyone, and we’re all excited that we now have that little bit to put on our resumes.

Sorry to those of you that read the blog regularly, I’ll be more diligent in updating.  But I’m sure you’ll understand that sometimes there is just SO MUCH TO DO!

So Many Exciting Things

This past week has been so insanely busy, but it’s only been busy because it’s been filled with so many good things.  

Thing no.1-  Our prototype from the end of last semester ,Protocol:Transcendence, is currently at the number 2 spot in the MoDev $10k app contest.  Please take just a quick moment to go HERE and vote for us, you could help us win up to $2500 dollars!

 

Voted yet?

Great! Well now that you’re back I can say just how grateful we are for all the support from our friends, family, classmates, co-workers, everyone.  We’re a small game in the app store still (~100 downloads) but with your help we’ve managed over 2000 votes.  It really seems incredible.

It’s been a great experience for me as a producer in particular.  I’ve been learning about the efficacy of social media and how to effectively promote a product online.  We’ve had overwhelming support from our peers, but I’ve learned that you really do need to give people regular reminders in order to maximize their effort.  I’ve learned more about Twitter and using hastags and tweeting the right people to make things get noticed more.  Regardless what happens to us in this contest, it’s been very valuable to me to learn these things.

Thing no.2- As I mentioned in my last blog post we’ve divided into 2 sub-teams to work on the two prototypes that we will present to industry professionals in about a month.  Progress on both of these games has been going at an amazing pace.

It's already scary. I can't even handle it.
Testing the game with the Oculus Rift

Here you see 3 of our engineers testing the Mannequin game with the Oculus Rift.  After less than one week, we’ve got the Rift up and running in the prototype.

This is a good chance to talk about the Mannequin game.  The basic idea here is that you are in a horror game where there are mannequins that want to hurt you, but they can’t move while you’re looking at them.  The engineers already have the basic mechanic up and running.  If you look at the mannequins, they won’t move.  But if you look away and look back, they still won’t move, but you can tell that they are closer, and pursuing you.  Now imagine that while wearing a VR headset.  It’s pretty eerie.

Thing no.3- The other game, Agoraphobia, is shaping up in a much different way but it’s progressing very well in it’s own right.  For Mannequin we had a mechanic idea, but for Agoraphobia we had an aesthetic, or a theme/thesis idea, but weren’t 100% sure how to make the mechanic to support the idea.

So those of us working on Agoraphobia have taken to making a few separate prototypes over this first week to explore what’s fun and it’s been fun seeing what everyone has made.  I’ve supported this by going to forums for Agoraphobia support groups, researching the disease, and just learning all I can about it so we can really convey it well in a game.  It’s an interesting approach, and I’m excited to see how it will pan out.  After we get some feedback from our professors tomorrow we’ll probably choose 1 Agoraphobia prototype to move forward on and finally hone in on the mechanics that will work best.

Thanks for reading, these three things have kept us so busy but it’s been a great week!  Vote for Protocol:Transcendence once a day from any device you have, and hopefully next week we’ll have some good news saying we’re the champs!