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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