Final Project

The final project will be done in groups of 2 or 3.  We expect most groups will be 3 people, but some will opt for 2:  the same amount of work will be expected from 2 as 3, so think carefully about this choice.  Teams will be formed after fall break, and an initial game pitch will be done by each team. Each team will then work on their game over the last month of the semester.

There will be two major implementation milestones (the Alpha build, and a final complete build), both of which will be play-tested in class.

The game project is best thought of as “a few minutes of pure fun that demonstrates the core ideas of your game.”  The emphasis is on demonstrating the fun of your game.  The game should play well for at least that brief period, and it should be clear to the player where this game would go if it were to become real. Professional-grade art is not necessary, but “polish” (both game feel polish and other polish) is:  the prototype should be complete and clean enough to not interfere with the experience.   Opting for a clean geometric world rather than “cobbled together mismatched models” is a good idea.

While you should have minimal splash screens, menus, instructions and environmental polish, you will NOT get additional credit for things unrelated to the fun of your core idea: no complex levels or level editors, no generalized internal structures, no super-cool animated 3D characters, etc.  But the critical elements of game feel (as described in the text) are important, insofar as they contribute to a smooth and compelling game experience.

The core requirement for the game is that it must satisfy Swink’s definition of a “true game feel” game (i.e., it must have a character/avatar you control, who moves through a simulated space, and whose interactions with that space are reinforced through polish effects).  The game must also use the web player so it can be posted to this site (the graduate section does not need to do this).  There are no additional technical requirements for the game, aside from doing what you need to make it fun.  If your game requires “enemies or multiple players” you must implement it (AI controlled enemies, or networking).  If your game requires physics, then use physics.  You should focus directly on making a fun-to-play interactive experience.  Avoid extra complexity that does not contribute to the goal, and put in work on things that contribute to it.

A summary of the elements of the project are as follows (additional details will be provided in class and on separate pages):

  • Team formation (Deliverable G1: 1 points): The information we need for your group (name, a “tag line”, category tag, and members) is due on the t-square wiki page before 9am on Wednesday Oct 29th.  
  • Two group design presentation/documents  (Deliverables G2 and G3: 5+3 points).  Each group will do an initial design presentation, the week of November 3rd (before the class you present in).   The design should cover all aspects of the game idea, the schedule, who is doing what, and the targets for each of the play testing deadlines.  You will receive feedback in class, and (possibly) on the blog afterwards.  Each group will adjust their plans based on this feedback, and their initial work, and post an updated design document by Monday November 10 at 11:59pm.
  • Alpha  (Deliverable G4: 7 points).  The Alpha should be an initial playable demo.  It should demonstrate the central part of your game, and allow you to get an idea (and feedback) about whether you are going down a good path with your game.  You will bring these to class, and we will use the class periods to allow students to play each others games and give feedback.  The build will be posted on the web by 9am Wednesday November 19th.
  • Final Playtesting Build  (Deliverable G5: 7 points) (dead week).  You will be expected to have your game 99% complete by the time we playtest in class.  After the playtesting, you may continue to tweak the game based on what you learned (e.g., adjust balance, update some content or technical bugs, etc) but this should be purely refinement.  Adding features after the playtesting build, rather than refining/tweaking features that were there, will NOT count toward your final grade. The playtesting build will be posted on the web by 9am Wednesday December 3rd.   You will have until the end of the weekend  after the final play-testing (11:55pm Sunday night) to post your absolute final game on the class blog (with the unity3d file in t-square).
  • Final Presentation  (Final Deliverables:7 points) (finals week).  You will present your game, including showing a short video (less than two minutes) documenting your game.  You should also present what you learned, and what you may have changed since the final playtest;  what did your game do and not do;  what you would do differently.  The materials are due before the final exam period you present in.