Ross School - Senior Project 2008-09

Student: Spencer Boehm

Mentor: Urban Reininger

Product                            

Title: Caeser’s Bogus Journey

Description: “Caeser’s Bogus Journey” is a platforming game developed in Adobe CS3 using the programming language Actionscript 3.0. The game is designed to be accessible to a large audience by utilizing various development techniques.

Details:

Caeser’s Bogus Journey

Abstract

            My initial inspiration for taking this particular project was the result of a long history of playing way too many video games. The process of developing an actual video game was a process that both fascinated and intimidated me. The idea that with my own hands I could create something I had enjoyed so very thoroughly was very enticing. At the same time, however, I was well aware that the creation and development of such a product would be a daunting task. Ultimately, I decided to take the idea and go with it, for better or worse.

            The project took considerable time to take-off. In the hazy, early days of the school year, the project often found itself brushed away to the side in favor of other work or even leisurely activity. This exercise in poor judgment on my behalf could be partially attributed to a false sense of security due to the lengthy time frame in which the project could be worked on. As a result, the project did not truly pass a conceptual stage until about halfway into the year.

            The process of coding and constructing resources for a video game are a long and arduous process. A full-length commercial game often requires teams of over one hundred people, not even counting the countless middlemen that are required to have the game released onto the market. Budgets that exceed several millions of dollars are not uncommon. Having neither of those resources at my disposal and only a short time frame in which to create my product, I had to scale my product down to a manageable size.

            I set out to make a visually and conceptually simple game. At the core of every successful game are these two factors. Visual clutter is a common detriment to gameplay in that it impairs the ability of the brain to comprehend the situation and make decisions based on that. By creating sharp, clear environments, the player is instantly able to identify his or her environment and decide their next course of action without breaking the flow of gameplay. Another common issue in video games is failure to grasp the fundamentals of game design. Complex or unintuitive interfaces often scare away all but the most dedicated players, resulting in what is called a “niche game.” While niche games are not bad in of themselves, the primary focus of a game is to create an experience that everyone can enjoy. Nintendo’s “Super Mario Bros.” game series has in many ways served as a precursor to several different genres. The majority of its installments are classified as “platformers,” games in which the character must move the start to the finish of a level, often jumping from various platforms, hence the name. Upon closer inspection, however, many of the elements seen in games of other genres are present to some degree. Thus, I used the basic construction of the old Mario Bros. games as the template for my design.

            Over time, it became increasingly apparent that time was running out faster than I could make effective progress. After a series of setbacks, restructures and downscales, the final product ended up being of less-than-desirable quality based on my initial goals. Nonetheless, the product was completed. While the product itself did not meet the expectations I had set for it, the process as a whole served as a good lesson in things such as time management, unconventional conceptualization and taking a holistic approach to work. At this time I am unsure what I will do from here, but my interest in the subject has not faded, so I plan to pursuit game development in some form or another.

Works Consulted

Fulton, Steve. "Perfect Coding Can't Fix Bad Game Design." Flash Game University. 14 July 2007. Feb. 2009. <http://flashgameu.com/>.

Rosenzweig, Gary. ActionScript 3.0 Game Programming University. Que, 2007.

Community Member (Details)

Amy Wright – Outside Consultant