Your job in this class is to make a game.
Most of the games you buy in the store involve six to twelve months of work by twenty to one hundred trained professionals. Those trained professionals include full-time artists, full-time sound designers and hordes of programmers. People with years of experience in those arts alone. And many game titles build off of a body of code developed by the company for previous titles or related merchandising--they're not starting from scratch. You need to design a very small project.
To do well in this course, you need to do one thing well. Your game needs to really stand out in one way (but NOT all ways). Doing one aspect of it well will get you a better grade than doing a mediocre job on a lot of things. If you're doing an Unreal game, maybe you could do something neat with a twist on physics (see the zero gravity physics in Scott Lewis and Jeffrey Wilson's senior project). If you do a text adventure, make it witty, well-written and with clever puzzles. A few extremely well done puzzles are better than an entire involved game with mediocre quality throughout. Do NOT do lots of levels for your game. All you need is one, small well-done level. Your game might excel in the gorgeous graphics, the witty sound effects, the clever puzzles, the well-tuned user interface. Make it really stand out in one way.
The tools that are available for game development have different strengths and weaknesses. Use your chosen tool for what it's best for. Don't fight against it. If you want to do 3D, you might be better off using a higher-level package like UnReal (especially if you don't already know OpenGL or DirectX). You give up a certain amount of creative control when you decide to use UnReal--there are things it does well, and things it does badly. Design your game so that you can use the tool for what it's best for.
"The best laid plans of mice and men...."
You can't accurately anticipate how long each step in your project is going to take. Consequently, you need to make a detailed development schedule that is layered. We suggest this structure:
Now you think we're joking, huh? We're not. If you happen to put in marathon sessions working on your games project, think hard about what you're doing to your hands and back. Take frequent breaks. Sit correctly. You will never get that dream game job if you have no hands left. Please read the Typing Injuries FAQ.
Please come to class on April 12th prepared to give a seven-minute presentation of your game plan. In your talk, you must:
Presentations will continue into the evening from 7 to 10 pm, and attendance is mandatory unless you speak to the instructors in advance and have a legitimate excuse.