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Q: From what I know, your team consists of several students preparing as game developers at the Southbank Institute of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. Can you tell us some of the things that you are learning there?
A: The Diploma of Games Development course is structured to be completed over 2 semesters (1 year). In the first semester we are taught various skills from 3D modelling/animation, game design, texturing and C++ code. In the second semester we were placed into a project environment where we worked from design phase all the way through to final product. We had a 13 week timeframe to complete the project.
Island Hoppers began as a one page sell sheet devised by 4 students, where we had to compete against 2 other groups and game ideas. All 3 groups had to pitch their game ideas to a panel of staff, and Island Hoppers was successful. All 3 groups were collapsed into 1, and production of Island Hoppers began.
Q: Why did you decide to use GameStudio for your game?
A: Having never used a game engine before, and knowing very little on what they were and how to use them, the decision was made by the teaching staff. But we found it to be a nice, friendly engine to work with.
Q: How did you manage to create Island Hoppers in only a few months?
A: Hard work, time management, 10 hour days, no life and excellent team work. That’s the formula that went into Island Hoppers. It was a lot of learning as we went and I suppose we were really lucky to have a talented team that functioned really well together.
Q: Did you use GameStudio’s built-in physics engine? Why?
A: Yes we did. We decided to use the physics engine because the vehicles needed to react in a realistic, but fun, fashion. Of course, due to time constraints and limited experience / knowledge we stuck to GameStudio’s physics engine instead of investigating any other engine. It turned out to work pretty well and there was lots of help and tutorials available for us to learn off.
Q: Do you use any tiny and yet precious tool for game development?
A: No. The only 3rd party programs we used were programs like Autodesk’s 3DS Max 9, Adobe Photoshop CS2 and Easy Particles.
Q: Please tell us what was the most complicated part of the project and how did you manage to do it.
A: There were so many problems we ran into it would be impossible to label one of them as the most complicated. We had physics issues (wheels falling off, car rolling over), getting multiplayer to work with physics, vehicles respawning etc. But if I had to label one thing as the most complicated it would have to be multiplayer / networking. This would be because we would have to find a way to program something in single player, then re-program it for multiplayer. Double the fun!
Q: What other features are planned for the final version of the game?
A: We are hoping to have a multiplayer deathmatch mini-game where you battle it out atop a volcano. Apart from that Island Hoppers is pretty complete. There is a bit of house-keeping to take care of like bugs etc. It was only meant to be a school project and we haven’t planned for too much more to be implemented. Although if production were to go on, Island Hoppers would feature a tournament mode with a wider range of customisable vehicles. But there are no plans for this at this stage.
Q: Please give us a few tips for beginners.
A: Actually we really do still consider ourselves beginners! All I could say is work hard and don’t give up! Also make sure that your game project is a realistic idea that you will be able to complete. Don’t hesitate to ask questions.
Please visit the “Island Hoppers” website:
Thank you a lot, Jason.