Engine Proof

Hey Everyone,

As I said last week, it’s been super busy the past month, and I’ve spent a great deal of time working on school projects.  I’m loving the work, but it’s resulted in some really long hours.

Fortunately, I’ve still managed to have some fun outside the school here and there.  On Halloween, I had a chance to catch up with my Aunt Shelly and Uncle Jay, who were staying in Seattle.  They were kind enough to take me to a fantastic restaurant called “The Brooklyn Seafood, Steak, and Oyster House”.

The Brooklyn

The food was delicious!  Oh, and it was great to see them too! : )

We had a wonderful time catching up and trying different dishes.  Unfortunately, my phone was dying by the time I remembered to take a picture, so I don’t have any photos of the food.  But just imagine plates of delicious salmon, oysters, steak, with a mound of golden potatoes, all laid out before us.  And don’t forget the warm Valrhona chocolate cake to finish it out.

Anyway, after witnessing some of the weirdness of downtown Seattle on Halloween, including some zany costumes and an impromptu bike race featuring a bunch of riders in costume, I headed back home to prepare for my engine proof.

Engine proof is a common game industry milestone, where the developers present to the investors, etc. and demonstrate that they are capable of building the game promised.  It took a bit of prep, but our engine proof for Robo Knight Rusty went really well.  Unfortunately, we lost the artist who put together the great concept art for our game (she had too much work going on at school – a risk we knew going in).  But even without art, our game does a lot of stuff really well.

We’ve got the ability to jump and fall through certain platforms, different power-ups that change the way Rusty moves and attacks, a checkpoint system, a health system, different enemies and a bunch of smaller features.  The professor was pretty impressed, which was definitely a good thing.

As you can see in the video, Rusty starts with his trusty sword, which is short range, but also fast and powerful.  After having him jump around a bit, we have him demonstrate the checkpoint system by leaping into a ‘pit o’ death’.  Shortly after, our first enemies spawn, which I just avoided in this video, but we battled in the engine proof.  All the stuff we have set up is component based, which means you can easily drag and drop the objects into the level.  We can create enemy spawn points, new platforms, and new hazards really easily.

There’s no sound right now because I disabled it.  Sound is present in the game, but we only have one sound effect at this point, which we use for everything.  So yeah, it’s an easy fix with new music, but it’s really annoying to listen to at this point.

Our demonstration of our new components/weapons, however, was the most impressive.  In the video above you can see me pick up the blue powerup – the Tesla generator, which gives Rusty anti-gravity in the blue fields.  Rusty can run and jump normally in the field, and uses it to cross the gap.  After crossing the pit, he picks up the steam generator, which gives him a double jump and a flamethrower.  Finally, I have him pick up the chain gun to take on a couple big enemies.  All the weapons and enemies have unique advantages and disadvantages.  Each weapon gives Rusty a different base speed, and has a different attack.  And every enemy has a weapon weakness.  So even if it doesn’t look pretty at this stage, the game is coming together pretty nicely.  The level is obviously very simple, but we needed to demonstrate all of our components efficiently, not necessarily in the most interesting of environments.

As I said, the proof went smoothly, so I can’t complain about our lack of visuals.  And with that task out of the way, I was ready to enjoy the weekend!

The same couple that hosted the Minnesota State Fair party planned a Halloween party so I headed back over to Seattle to spend the evening enjoying some junk food.  Besides some interesting conversation, there were plenty of great games, including a few fun ‘Rock Band’ sessions.  If you’re not familiar with ‘Rock Band’, it’s a video game where up to four people can form a band and play on plastic guitars, drums, and sing into a microphone – all the while playing classic and modern songs by Boston, Bon Jovi, etc.

We also spent a good deal of the night playing a neat party game called Time’s Up!

Time’s Up is very simple and straightforward.  All you need is a timer, a few sheets of paper and some pens.  Everyone get a few small slips of paper (maybe twice the size of a fortune cookie slip, approximately), to write down a person, place, or thing that fits on the sheet.  Then all of the slips go into a box and people divide into teams.  At that point, one team starts with one person pulling a slip out of the box.  That individual has 30 seconds to get their team to correctly say what’s on as many slips as they can get through.  The caveat is that there are three rounds with special rules.  In round one, the reader cannot say any words on the slip.  Players can act out anything, at any time.  Once all the slips have been used, by going around the teams until the box is empty, the game moves to round two.  In round two, players are only allowed one word, period – and nothing that is written on the slip.  In round three, only acting out the words is allowed.  Teams need to be quick, and have a good collective memory.  Each slip is worth one point, and at the end of three rounds, the team with the highest total wins.  Any phrases are allowed, just be warned that you might have to act out your own difficult answers.

A great time was had by all, and I highly recommend Time’s Up! for group parties.

And with that, I’ll wrap up this week’s post.  I’ve got to get back to work on building our boss for Robo Knight Rusty!  See you next week!

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