Giraffic Park

Title Artwork by Tim Shepherd

I learned more about team dynamics from this project then any other I’d worked on previously. A team of 7 Artists and 7 programmers were given 4 months to create whatever we wanted, as long as it showcased the skills we had learned over the course appropriately.

The chief issue was, this was the largest group and time frame any of us had worked with thus far. Pre-production was slow to start because there was a lot of conflict within the group over what the project should actually be.

We eventually settled on a platformer, not realizing how art-and-content-heavy this type of game actually was. Naturally, we overscoped.

We got the opportunity to use Havok’s Vision Engine for this project, which was both good and bad- It had an expansive feature set and level editor, but we spent a good deal of time learning the ins-and-outs of how it worked.

Boxart by Bronson Bradley

The pitch for Giraffic Park was absurd, by design: A young viking child crashes  on an island, and his fighting abilities are based on the concept of using the heads of defeated enemies as weapons. Each animal head grants him a unique secondary ability, eg. Snakes allow him to swing from ledges, elephants repel enemies by spraying water, etc.

The player has to progress through the level, avoiding traps and fighting different enemies until he/she reaches and defeats the final boss. If the player dies, they revert to the last known checkpoint.

For this project, I worked mostly on UI, designing and implementing a menu system from scratch, using nothing but Vision’s provided 2D Sprite class. This ended up working in my favour, as I was able to spend more time polishing and less time learning how to use Vision’s provided menu systems.

I also implemented the Save/Load system, checkpoints, sky-box transitions, control tool-tips, and HUD.

Here’s a gameplay trailer I put together:

Here’s a quick demo of the 2D/3D Menu I implemented:

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Shadow

Subtitle: Prophecy of the Birdman

Shadow is a 3rd-person multiplayer combat game created in 8 weeks by a team of 4 artists and 5 programmers.

The initial concept for this game was inspired by an episode of Samurai Jack, whereby the game’s monotone colour scheme allows players to easily blend into the environment.

The secondary goal of the project was to familiarize ourselves with Unreal Engine 3. None of the programmers had any prior experience using the engine, so we would be learning how to implement features using UScript and use the engine’s tools on the fly, from scratch.

The areas of the project I spent the most time on include Player movement, camera set-up, animation and animation transitions, networking, and particle implementation.

Submersible

Submersible is a simple two-week project I created after returning to MDS for my Diploma of Game Development.

Over the Christmas holidays, I’d retrofitted the DirectX engine I used for Island with a much improved 2D Sprite system, using what I’d learned while working with DirectX sprites on Interstellar Excavation.

The game itself is fairly straightforward- Dive in a submarine 10,000 meters to the bottom of the ocean. Obstacles you’ll have to overcome include enemy sea-creatures, lack of light as you dive deeper, and your sub’s physical limitations.

Players can kill sea-creatures for money, use the money to buy upgrades at the surface. Simple stuff.

 

 

 
You can download Submersible here.

Interstellar Excavation

This is the final project a team of 7 programmers (including myself) created during our first year at MDS. It took 8 weeks to complete, two of which were spent on pre-production.

The core scoring mechaninc is similar to the classic lines-and-dots game, in which player are driven to capture territory before their opponents.

The game features a top-down perspective, and each player controls a vehicle navigating about a grid of nodes. when four adjacent nodes are captured, the parcel of land inbetween them is claimed, generating income for the player. the player can then spend that income on defenses for the parcel or upgrades for their vehicle.

The game continues until the round ends, at which time the each number of land parcels for each player is totalled and a winner is declared.

The design goal was to create a game that was easy to jump into, but had enough depth to allow players to formulate a number of unique strategies.

The whole of the game was written from the ground up using DirectX, with the exception of audio, where we used FMOD. I was in charge of user interface and AI.

This first video shows four human players competing. The following video is 1 human player and 3 AI opponents.

 

 

 
The most recent build can found here.

Island

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Dynamic Foliage!

Well… technically speaking. The palm trees spawn in random locations around the edges.

“Island” Is a Robotron clone created in two weeks for the IG300 course component for my Diploma of Interactive Gaming. It marks my first foray into 3D games, using a custom-built engine I compiled whilst learning DirectX.

Scrolling Textures, Xbox 360 controller support, and a multitude of game-play features were required.

Again, couldn’t resist adding a co-op mode. Also real happy with the way the 3D menu turned out, considering that I spent a single day working on it.

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You can download ISLAND here.