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April 18, 2024

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Spring Housing Guide

Students create new video game

Most gamers just play games, going through story after story and immersing themselves into different worlds. Juniors Zachary Payne and Kaitlyn Foley, however, are building their own world.

Over the summer, Payne, a software engineering major, got the idea to make a game and started recruiting people for the project. Foley, a digital arts major, joined in to work on the game’s art. Payne recruited three other people, and the group of five has been working together to make the game happen.

“It’s an exploration game, takes place on a college campus. Your character wakes up and all of a sudden the campus is not how it should be,” Foley said. 

The group met in Olscamp for a few hours at a time, and they originally started with the idea for a 3-D role-playing game, but had to scrap it, as the project was not feasible. 

James Mangan, a sophomore English major, helps with the writing while Alex Felczan and Matt Linsky, sophomore Computer Science majors use their skills to help further the game.  

Bonnie Mitchell, a digital arts professor said that 3-D imaging is hard. 

“If you don’t have the experience in 3-D, it’s nothing that you can just take on and get up to speed in a few weeks. It usually takes a few years to get up to speed,” she said.

Because of the challenges with the 3-D, the group talked over new ideas before settling on the exploration game.

“One of the major consensuses we kind of came to is that we wanted it to be kind of eerie and a little bit spooky, but we still wanted it to be a little bit comedic in a sense,” Foley said.

The group is using game mechanics that would be familiar to horror game players, but are trying to put their own twist on them. 

“The main theme we’re going for is unsettling, as opposed to making it specifically scary,” Foley said. “We want to have some classic horror elements in there, like chase sequences, while also including some other horror tropes, like not being able to fight back against the monsters that are after you.”

Even though the idea of the game is set, time poses an issue for the development of the game. The group has had difficulty finding the time to get together and work, putting about 30 hours in so far.

“We have five people and we’re all trying to coordinate on one time,” Payne said. “We’re in very key courses, we’re in very oddly scheduled courses, and on top of that, work. It gets really difficult to organize people.”

The group does not have a timeframe for finishing the game. When the game is finished, however, they hope to put it up on Steam, a popular platform where people can buy and download games.

So far, no money has been put into the game. The group relies on their skills and the Unity engine to code their game. Unity is a multiplatform game engine that people can use to develop games for PC and consoles, like the PlayStation 3. A personal version of Unity is free to download.  

With the time spent, the group is also gaining experience for possible future careers in the area. For instance, Foley wants to do concept and artwork for video games, animations or movies in the future.

One of the things they appreciate about the game making process is working with a group of people who have different skills. 

“When you get a group of people with different talents together that are all working on the same thing, you can watch something be created that you yourself couldn’t make on your own,” Foley said. 

Payne is also thankful for being able to create something. He is looking forward to the finished project. 

“You get to actually visualize what you create. It’s creating a story which in itself is really fun, but then you actually get to see it,” he said. “Actually seeing what you created and put so much time into being finished and being used by other people and in this case, hopefully, makes people happy while they play it will be really nice.” 

Building a game is not just a one-time plan. Payne and Foley have talked about building up a studio if the game does well and the group wanted to follow through with it.

“It’s a future business plan almost. Maybe if we finish in a timely fashion we could even do another (game) before we graduate, and then build up a nice pool of money so we could open our own studio,” Payne said. 

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