Spotlight 05 – 3D Modeling with Hagan Miller, Lisa Lo, and Nicholas Wong

This week’s spotlight post features another facet of our Art team: 3D modeling with Hagan Miller, Lisa Lo, and Nick Wong. Hagan and Nick are both Seniors in Architecture, while Lisa is a Senior studying Computer Science. Over the course of this semester, these three have designed 3D models for our buggies, props, buildings, and much more.Through our Q & A format, we will discuss how these students approach their work, and their thoughts on our project's development. Q: What software do you use for 3D modeling, and why? What about this software works for you? Hagan: “For this class, I use Maya for 3D modeling and sometimes Rhino 5 for getting the bigger picture of a space. Maya is good for maintaining a good meshflow, making those who texture's…
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Spotlight 04 – Driving and CPUs with Emil and Angela!

This week, our spotlight post is a double feature: Driving and CPUs with Emil Balian and Angela Zhang! While both are Juniors, Emil is majoring in Computational Physics, and Angela in Computer Science. Throughout the semester, both students have been hard at work on our Code team, making sure our players can drive their buggies smoothly, and that they have CPU opponents to race against. This blog post will be a bit longer than our previous entries. We will continue with our Q & A format, first interviewing each student individually, and then coming together at the end to discuss their shared work. Emil Balian Q: How did you approach creating our buggy driving mechanic? “The main approach to the buggy driving mechanics was to maintain relatively simple arcade vehicle…
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Spotlight 03 – Code with Jonathan Namovic!

This week, we have another spotlight post: Code Production with Jonathan Namovic! Jonathan is a Senior Information Systems major, and the lead for our Code team. He is pursuing a career in game design and gameplay programming. As our Code lead, Jonathan primarily manages our other coders, rather than coding himself. He assigns his team’s tasks, compiles our builds, communicates the needs of our code team to our other leads, and helps lead our game in the best direction from a coding perspective.  Using our Q & A format, we will see how Jonathan manages the Code team and keeps our project running smoothly.  Q: Have you led previous code-based projects? A: "Nope. I’ve been on a number of coding projects, both games and software, but this is the first…
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Playtesting

Over the course of this semester, playtesting has been fundamental to our game development process. Every Friday during class time, we test our latest builds in-house; meanwhile, every Wednesday evening, we conduct external playtests to people who may or may not have played our game before. Playtesting allows us to identify bugs and get feedback on art and design choices, which then allows us to further iterate on our game.  We approach our playtests with a general set of questions. For instance, every playtest we ask our volunteers if they are familiar with CMU buggy, and how comfortable they are with video games. If people are unfamiliar with the tradition of buggy, then we have the challenge of quickly familiarizing them with it in-game; if people aren’t avid gamers, then…
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The Alpha Build

We’ve recently completed our alpha build — the first playable version of our game. An alpha build is essential for detecting bugs and providing a general feel for how the game should play out, both with mechanics and environment. For this build, we implemented some key factors: player buggy models, usable powerup items, improved opponent AI, and lots more. Art In previous weeks, we have showcased our concept art -- a low poly, geometric design and more cartoony artstyle. For our alpha build, our Art team translated this 2D concept art into 3D models. Players are now able to choose from eleven unique buggies inspired by real buggies throughout CMU history. Ascension BuggyBeta BuggyFish BuggySkeleton BuggyPirate Ship BuggyRobo BuggyStealth BuggyBaby Leroy BuggyBathtub BuggyKeg BuggyMalice Buggy Our art team has also…
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Spotlight 02 – Design with Kathryn-Mae Eiland!

This week, we have our second spotlight post: Design with Kathryn-Mae Eiland! Kathryn is a 2nd Year Master’s student at the Entertainment Technology Center. She is pursuing a career in Graphic & Web Design, User Experience Design, Game Design, and much more! As our Design lead, Kathryn plants out many aspects of our game — what our tracks should look like, what power-ups we’ll have, and many other details crucial to development. Kathryn also manages our multiple dev teams, making sure they’re still on task and the project is progressing smoothly. We will continue using the Q & A format so we can dive in Kathryn’s design process and see how she thinks through important game decisions.  Q: What is your philosophy when you design?   A: “When I design, I…
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Spotlight 01 – Concept Art with Vivi Nguyen!

Our teams have been hard at work building Virtual Buggy. This week, we have our first spotlight post: Concept Art with Vivi Nguyen! Vivi is a Junior studying Time Based Media Art and minoring in Human Computer Interaction. She enjoys the concept and visual development process, and is pursuing a career in animation, visual development, and HCI. Vivi has been a vital asset to our team, creating tons of great 2D artwork that has been fundamental in developing our game’s style. For this post, we will have a Q & A-styled format, diving into Vivi’s artist process and her thoughts on our games development! Q: What was your intent with this year’s concept art?  A: “We wanted the art direction to be different from the Buggy Allstars last year. So…
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The Prototype – Bigger, Badder, Buggier!

The first weeks of Advanced Game Studio have been fast-paced and focused on two iterations of our Prototypes: early "releases" of the game that will become the foundation for the work to come. To make this all happen, our indie studio has separated into several teams, each focused on different disciplines: Art, Design, Sound, and Code. Each team has specific functions and goals that are essential in producing this project. Here is what our teams have been up to since the start of the semester: Design Our Design Team has been focusing on what locations to feature in our tracks, potential obstacles for these tracks, and types of powerups that players can use throughout the game.We’ve decided on the following so far: Our first level will be the same traditional…
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A word from the instructor…

Welcome back everybody! I am excited to kick off the project blog for Advanced Game Studio with the announcement of our class project. This semester we are building on the success of last spring by once again assembling the class into one development studio to design and deliver the sequel to last year's game.. This course was first launched in the spring of 2018 to give students the opportunity to work on developing a video game over a longer design cycle than what most courses typically offer. It is unique within the offerings available to students through IDeATe's game design curriculum in that here students will focus on developing just one product across the entire semester. Also unique to this class - the students work collectively to create a single…
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