Robo Knight Rusty!

Hey folks,

This week ended up being even busier than anticipated with the start of our group project at school, so that’s why I’ve had such a delay with my post.

I’ve been meeting a bunch of people at school, and fortunately, was able to find a group for a game team really quickly.  The team project makes up the majority of our grade in our GAM100 (project) class that we have this semester, so it’s important to quickly establish a rapport and get started.  Since we’re all still so raw in terms of programming ability, GAM class is more about team development, communication, and cohesion than anything else.

Of course, we still have to make a fun game.

As part of the process, however, we all had to transfer our GAM100 class into the same section so we could present together, work together during class, etc.  Unfortunately, it meant in our case that I had to transfer my time slot from Tuesday at 9:00 am – 10:30 am and Wednesday at noon –  2:00 pm, to Friday at 9 am – 10:30 am and Friday at 7 pm-9pm.  Ugh.  Not awesome.  But if we can make a fantastic game it will be worth it.

Other than that hiccup, things have been moving (I’ll say this conservatively) pretty well so far.  We came up with a concept pretty quickly, and we think it is a fun game idea.  We’re calling it Robo Knight Rusty.   Here’s a sketch of our hero:

Concept art for Rusty

It’s a 2d side-scrolling run n’ gun set in a Steampunk world starring Knight Commander Rusty, who changes his components to battle evil.

If that sentence didn’t make a whole lot of sense to you, I’ll explain:  Steampunk is a art/fantasy style the reimagines the world as if late 19th century Victorian England was much more advanced technologically, but still used steam engines, giant gears, etc. to power everything.  Think along the lines of the ‘Nautilus’ from ’20 Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.’  The side-scrolling run n’ gun part is akin to Super Mario Bros., but imagine if Mario carried weapons that he could fire at enemies.  If that seems too easy, just think if the level had 10X more enemies, and they were firing back.  Rusty will find components throughout the level that will change his weapon, movement, etc.  But every time he picks up a component of a certain type, he has to leave the old one behind.  The player always has to decide what they want for now vs the future, and what advantages or disadvantages that will bring.  Overall, I think it will be a silly, but really enjoyable concept.

Waaaay back in orientation, I met a really nice and talented artist named Stephanie who was just entering into the art program.  I talked to her about the idea, and she got really excited about it, and agreed to help out our team.  She created the great concept sketch you see above.

So now we have three programmers and an artist all working together, trying to produce a game by the end of the semester.  We’ll see what happens but I’m already really happy to have her working with the team, and excited about our prospects.  She’s come up with some fun concepts that will be really cool to implement.  Below is a sketch she made for Rusty’s sword:


The really cool thing about the design is not only that it integrates into Rusty’s arm, fitting with the whole ‘changing components’ mechanic, but the little gear on the side spins up and charges the weapon, causing it to shoot out the sword like a lance.

She’s also developed a design for our proposed ‘Tesla Cannon’:



Tesla was a famous scientist/engineer who developed AC (alternating current) power that we use across the world today, so naturally the cannon fires bolts of lightning!

And in case you’re worried about violence, one of the requirements for the project is that the final game be (theoretically) rated no higher than E10+.  Rusty will be battling other robots of the ‘Iron Army,’ which is invading the shining city of OilDrop.  If you’re not familiar with ESRB (Electronic Software Ratings Board) Ratings, E10+ means the game is suitable for children 10 and older, and can only have cartoon violence and very little of anything else including language or sexual references.

Fortunately, between our base idea, and Stephanie’s great sketches, our concept presentation went really smoothly, and it looks like we’re all set to start diving into the coding.  I don’t know if I’ll have time to get out of my normal routine in the next few weeks, but I’m hoping at least to make a trip to Pike’s Place or something interesting locally soon.

In the interim, next week will be time for a major book progress update, including some of the data I collected last month.  See you then!

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