Friday, August 11, 2006

Almost Ready, Gamers

Almost Ready, Gamers

We - and all other six computer developing gamers - can be heard on the radio for Dare to be Digital!

Have a listen here for the report by Clark Boyd.

Now that we have been covered on print and pulse, time has come to look back on what we have been through to get to the completion of our game SPACEPORT.

CONCEPT PHASE (Weeks 0ne and Two)

The lead designer, in this case our team lead, in conjunction with my team member form China and myself (from Holland), conceives the game concept: What genre, characters (two in our case), and story line (managing a space station) will the game feature. Will it invent its own genre or fall into an established one?

We have tried to make a space game that doesn't look & feel at all like the Green Aliens ;o)


A prototype of the game is "built". This prototype will contain all of the key elements of core gameplay in a limited fashion but still give a sense of how the complete game will play and what it might look like.

* Customer Service Manager (CSM): Carbrey

* Engineer (ENG): Ena

In this phase, some of the key core design work on characters, environments, etc., will be executed, although it may be altered in the next phase.


Paper art and design process begins in earnest. Key art - a single large image encapsulating the look and feel of the game as a whole - may be created at this stage or in the prototype phase.

Key character sketches, environment sketches, and so on are begun, and the storyline, as well as any cinematic segment storyboards are created. Audio scoring is begun.

Ship approaching spaceport.

[CSM gulps]

What, But the station’s not ready!

I know. Everything’s a mess upstairs.
Come on, I need you [to player].

Wait a minute there Carby…

It’s Carbrey actually!

In addition, during this phase technical design issues are mapped out, such as what tools might be used to program the game, how control schemes might work, etc.

Finally, a single segment of the game is completed during this phase to serve as a model for the rest of the game.

Steam room

This segment may or may not be based on the prototype.

PRODUCTION PHASE (Weeks Six, Seven, and Eight)

Production begins in earnest. Characters and environments are translated into digital medium through a variety of methods and tools: for example, sculptures may be created by hand and then scanned into the computer as a basis for the three-dimensional computer model.

Textures - flat images that appear to contain shading as well as other details - are created for the characters and environments and then "wrapped" around the three-dimensional models.

A variety of software tools and programs are used for these processes. We used mostly Adobe Photoshop and Alias Maya. As different characters, environments, and so on are completed, they are put into motion, have sound and effects added, and begin their integration into the complete game.

Motion may involve motion capture technology for realism, sound may involve recording , and effects may include proprietary technologies used to make smoke, fire, water, changing light, and so on to look as real as possible.

As this process occurs, the programming of the gameplay that will finally bring all of these elements together is also executed. This includes such obstacles as ensuring that different object interact the way they are supposed to, the camera moves correctly around the action, and non-player characters behave intelligently.


In this phase, early "completed" versions of the game, known as "alpha", or "beta" "builds", are tested extensively to find faults that are corrected.

Click to enlarge: SPACEPORT outside

Other elements might also be tweaked such as musical cues, dialogue recording, or even specific textures. It is at the end of this phase that the game theoretically receives its ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) rating.


Final packaging and advertising are determined, and the game's finale marketing push begins.

Concept Logo design

This step can be as complex - and expensive - as the marketing of a major Hollywood film or CD release.


And this is what will happen on the Dare Awards ceremony day on Friday 18th August.


12 - 3pm Secondary schools from Tayside, Perth and Fife in playing your game demos - Blue area to left of Lounge Bar, level 1 of the Student Centre

3.30pm - 5pm Showing of film and award of prizes - Main Lecture Theatre (1516 / 2516), Main Building

5pm - 6pm Drinks reception and talent showcase (guests will be playing your game demos / viewing artwork etc). - Blue Area & Lounge Bar, Level 1 of the Student Centre

From 6pm onwards - Buffet and Party - Lounge Bar, Level 1 of the Student Centre

1 comment:

Doerak said...

We will cross our fingers on august 18th! A pity we cannot join!