Game Changer: Episode I

For those of you who have been following my blog for the past few months or friends/family/colleagues who have followed me on Facebook, you have heard me talk about the video game design class my wife and I took this past Spring Semester.

Well, the semester is done and I can say we really rocked this project hard!  I’m very happy with how things turned out and all the work our team did to not only stay on target with our expectations and timelines but working together to effectively communicate and produce.

“Every journey begins with a single step.”  ~Lao Tzu

Seventeen weeks, we all started with no game design experience under our belts.  Just a bit of creativity, a bit of logic, and an appreciation of video games.  We utilized GameSalad as our game engine and design platform which I must say works well for a beginning application if you are new to game design.  WYSIWYG interface and compiling is all done remotely by GameSalad servers.

We started out our class learning GameSalad’s interface, flushing out our game idea and assets with a firm design plan, and then started working on our preliminary artwork for our game.  As time went along, I started working on the framework for our game (scenes, controls, actors, etc.).  Animation came next.  And then finally, music and sound effects were added to enhance gameplay.   Next thing we knew, it was time to start deploying our game to a device (in this case, an iPad) and start beta testing.  For me (as the programmer), this was the most nerve-wracking time during the whole process.  What problems are they going to find?  Will I be able to fix them in time?  Are people going to like our game?

While we experienced some issues dealing with Apple’s provisioning profiles, it all worked in the end and everyone was able to deploy their games to iPads without fail.  We had a few minor changes / upgrades to our game the last two weeks but ended up scrapping the bigger changes to ensure game stability.

Once the game was finished, we tidied up the loose ends (aka got some t-shirts made, banner for the table, and purchased some wonderful table decorations for Game Day).  So during the last night of class, all the teams in our class assembled for our last game design meeting with our instructor (which he was very pleased with our project).   Once the meetings were done, we assembled in the Commons to pick out our tables.  We got shuffled around a bit because of some confusion but ultimately we found our spot.

What was to unfold on the Video Game Design Tournament Day… was something I won’t forget.  🙂

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