Outside of Capstone

A little while back I wrote a post about some of the assignments everyone was completing outside of the Capstone games we were making.

Since we are getting closer to the end of the second semester, I thought I’d update everyone on some of the other work we are all completing outside of our Capstone games.

The Producers have been put to work this semester. As I mentioned earlier, we were working on making our own Flash games, by ourselves, without artists or programmers. We were tasked with making three Flash games. We recently just finished our third and final Flash game.

We started out by creating a Flash game entirely by ourselves. Then we did a pairs game where we had to create a game with another Producer. This taught us how to work and divide coding tasks. Finally, we worked on team game with a total of four people.

For the team game we had to publish the game on the web either on its own website or on Facebook. The game also had to track and use metrics. To do the metrics portion of this assignment, I actually worked with Ron Weaver to create the PHP/MySQL side of the FIEA metrics database so that the Producers could use this system in their team Flash games.

After completing the Flash games, we have just recently started our level design assignments. We first had to complete a Solo Level design. For this assignment we had to create a level using an existing game editor. We could use editors such as Forge, Star Craft II, or GECK. We just had to create a level using the editor of our choice. I created a track using ModNation Racers.

This assignment introduced you to level design. Currently, this week, we are now building levels in UDK. For the next four weeks we will be building a solo level in UDK, and a team level.

While the Producers have been doing their thing, the Programmers have continued their work on their engine for the Xbox. Using their Xbox Dev kits, they create several new parts of the engine each week. They run each piece through rigorous unit testing using a system called QuickBuild. They also test it on their Xbox Dev kits.

Creating an engine has been very hard work for the programmers. They spend most of their time on the assignments, with some time set aside to help with the capstone games when they can. They typically have two assignments due each week.

In the next couple of weeks they will be done with the engine. They will then vote as a class which engine they like the best and then the entire Programming track will make a game using that engine.

Meanwhile, the Artists have been busy continually working on the same assignment for quite a while. For this assignment they were tasked with actually modeling the face of another fellow artist. They first had to do a Zbrush sculpt of the person, and then added in cards for hair, etc. After some tweaks, they then had to do some facial rigging and blend shapes. They are now working on lip syncing.

The second semester has been a lot of work. Juggling both the heavy course workloads and Capstone is definitely challenging and we are all putting in extremely long hours.

However, the experiences we are learning this semester are essential, and to boot we are gaining a lot of war stories, which will be great for interviews! Plus, the rigors of FIEA will prepare us for any crunch time hours we will have in the industry.

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