Pitching the Videogame

In an earlier post, I was babbling about my nerves prior to pitching a videogame I have been working on to a number of developers, but before I tell you how it went I’ll give you a bit of a background on the team I’m working with. Despite the picture, you’ll be glad to know it’s nothing like Dragons Den.

We began with a super 8-man 2-woman team, consisting of one writer, one musician, two programmers and six artists. It doesn’t take a genius to see that we had a slight imbalance from the beginning. Shortly after our research process – deciding what kind of game we were going to make – one of the programmers left due to lack of confidence in his ability. Then the writer stopped writing. Then an artist left. Then another artist left. Then the last programmer left. This was all mainly to do with other commitments for our university courses, some of us also had jobs, something called a ‘social life’ (?) and simply didn’t have the free time to sink into game development – a time consuming job even on its own.

Down to just four of us, tasks were shifted around. One of the artists took up scripting. In a game, I’d describe scripting as telling a door to perform an animation when you walk into it, making a sound play, adding particle systems, a GUI, and so on. However, we found ourselves faced with an abundance of bugs and problems. Collectables were meant to fly towards our character as he approached them, but sometimes they’d fly straight past or constantly circle around him. Jumping in a specific area caused the game to crash, and sometimes when he died a duplicate character would appear.

I think most of these were ironed out before we pitched the game, but I’m not certain, because shortly after entering, setting up the game and introducing ourselves, we were asked to leave the room. Perhaps all this hard work has made us ghostly pale and hideously malformed, and they couldn’t bare to look at us?

After a dreadful wait outside, we were brought back in the room, where the developers rattled off a list of suggestions and changes they would make – all of which we completely agreed with. On a plus note, they were impressed with the amount of work we’d produced, but again with certain artists leaving, the style was inconsistent through the levels they played. We needed a programmer to fix those bugs. Our character’s animation needed to be smoother and more endearing, he also needed to look cuter. Considering our target audience, the levels needed to be more linear.

Now, we’re looking to work on something smaller, that still supports the software we’ve currently got. We’ve begun work on a few ideas for the iPhone and iPod Touch, and I’ve started learning how to script. Scripting is like learning another language, one full of brackets and semi-colons. Initially I presumed that if I could memorise as much as possible of Javascript’s functions, vectors, variables, components and so on that I can use in Unity’s Unitron, it should be easy!

…Then I tried to get my head around making a door open when you walk into it, and my brain melted slightly.

I think I’ve grasped this incredibly basic function now, so thanks to the help of Will Goldstone’s excellent scripting tutorials, I’m going to end the post here and make an exit!

This means if the player hits a game object in the world which has been tagged with the name “door1”, and the door isn’t currently open, then open the door! OMG mega scripting skillz!!







6 responses to “Pitching the Videogame”

  1. Simes avatar

    As a picky programmer git, I feel compelled to point out that you haven’t specified which door you’re going to open. Or, indeed, which door you’re checking to see if it’s closed. 🙂

  2. Michael avatar

    Sweet Jesus, I understood what you just wrote in that little snippet, Emily! I really am quite surprised at that…

    Is it logic or something? And, Simes, is it just a matter of including the number of the door in the instruction?

  3. Emily avatar

    I know Simes, I had to simplify it as much as possible for my little brain! 🙂

  4. Tony avatar

    Agh! Code on Ready Up!

    I didn’t want to see that – this is my sanctuary from work!

  5. NorfolkNChance avatar

    If you could get another programmer then XNA would be a good base to work from.

  6. Will Goldstone avatar
    Will Goldstone

    Hi Emily, thanks for the mention in your article, i’m chuffed! in response to the comment from Simes at the top, basically the snippet Emily is referring to is from my video tutorials, which are really beginner stuff, showcasing simple collision detection, so in completely foolproof coding i’d of course agree its important to specify which door is open (we only have one in our tutorial) and when it gets shut. I’d go into more detail but if you’re curious just watch the tutorial.

    Anyway cheers again for the mention, keep up the good work you crazy kids.

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