Building Virtual Worlds Round 5

Final presentations for our Round 5 projects have ended.  The theme this round was to make something for the BVW Show.

You can see the game that my team produced in my portfolio under “Games: Building Virtual Worlds.”

My team from Round 1 got back together again for this round, looking to capture some of our previous magic.  This time, we made an ambitious choice to combine multi-player strategy gaming with a show element, and struggled through quite a few iterations of the game but the final product is pretty solid.

Luckily we decided to approach this round with a “lightening round” idea and polish it as much as possible; unfortunately, though, our choice in mechanic slowed us down a lot.  Coming up with a compelling strategy game takes a lot of balancing between control, random elements, and interest curve.  Moreover, multiplayer meant that there was a lot more implementation that would have to be done.  In fact, we changed our idea a multitude of times between interims and didn’t have our final design until after the last interim before finals today.  We went through ideas such as a silent auction to see-saws to scales and pulleys before settling on a simple tug-of-war style mechanic.  In regards to implementation, we started with Unity Phone, which still wasn’t ideal for having a lot of players connected reliably so over the course of the first few weeks, Zero spent most of his time with the help of Emmanuel developing a new web-browser based interface that people could use through their smartphones.  Turns out that this worked much more reliably than using the phone servers.

As to my contribution; I really did get a lot of opportunity to polish this project the way that I wanted to.  At the beginning while we were still finalizing the mechanic and aesthetic style, I took the initiative to model a whole multitude of low-poly prizes (cars, blenders, TVs, sofas, etc.).  Though these did not end up taking a main role as I had hoped, I did get to include them in the background of the final build.  The final tug-of-war mechanic did allow me to have a lot of fun animating our little characters, and they have a variety of different animations for each emotion.  What I am most proud about though is the subtle fact that they wave and acknowledge the guest when they receive a new command.  As to the overall environment, most every subtle detail that I wanted are there:  There are cameramen around the set that just rotate slowly and even a lighting grid on top of the ceiling  where little simulated spotlights are hanging from.

I had a lot of fun polishing this project, and the team was great.

EDIT:  This world made it into the Final Show!

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