The semester before I had to give my midpoint presentation (presenting my thesis idea and supplementary documents for implementation and workflow), I had been thinking what I wanted to do as my thesis project. What is worth me spending the next year and a half on? How big of a game does it have to be in order to show that I wasn’t wasting my time?
I had been enrolled in a rapid prototyping class which had me build about six games, one game per two week period, with varying themes. This showed me how much work I can accomplish in just two weeks time by myself. It helped my scripting skills considerably and I got used to using Unity (I had used mostly Flash during my undergraduate studies). Looking back at the prototypes that I built, I could easily see how my prototypes had grown in scope and polish. If I do this this kind of work in two weeks, what in the world could I accomplish that would need me to spend a year and a half?!
Another class that helped pave the way to my current idea was a midpoint preparing class that helped to prepare documents, ideas, and overall presentation. I spent a lot of time just thinking what I wanted to do during this class. For the sake of putting documents together and being somewhat mildly prepared, I chose to do a platforming game based on Dante’s Inferno. I prepared all the appropriate documents and design during the class; all the mechanics, all nine levels and boss battles, and even a basic story to follow while playing the game. All I really had to do was build the levels, script everything, and hopefully find an artist or two to ‘art’ the game, since I have no artistic ability at all (stick figures is my best). But this couldn’t be it… this isn’t going to last me a year and a half… maybe I need to rethink my scope, think bigger, but not too big that I can’t accomplish it, something I haven’t done before so it can keep me energized…
So for the next semester, I had enrolled myself in a research and development class; which will have us work with hardware such as Leap Motion, Kinect, and Oculus Rift. By the way, at this point I had already been keen on working with Oculus Rift because I believe virtual reality will be a major force in the future of gamin (same with augmented reality). I had thought that by taking this class, it would help me decide what I wanted to do for my thesis as it was my last chance to change my thesis idea before I had to deliver my midpoint presentation.
Before the class had started, I managed to finish one specific anime that I highly enjoyed (I watch quite a lot of fighting/action animes) –Sword Art Online. I know gaming won’t ever be like Sword Art Online, but I wanted to create a game that was inspired by that anime. But at the time, I had never worked with the Oculus Rift so I didn’t know how hard it would be to work with it. A few weeks into that research and development class, I managed to use the Oculus Rift in a Unity project and dealt with the data from the Oculus Rift to do some basic things in Unity. I had also decided to try out motion activated devices like Kinect, Leap Motion, Wii controllers, and Playstation Move controllers on the same Unity project with the Oculus Rift at the same time (I’ll go into more detail about this process on my next post). It was then that I decided what my thesis project was going to be: a Sword Art Online inspired role playing game in which you use the Playstation Move controllers to move and attack enemies as you clear 100 floors of enemies.
I did basic rough drafts of a game design document, game loop, mechanic specifications, crafting system, world layout, and game play moments one week before I had to deliver my midpoint presentation. The committee said it was a bit too much in scope but as long as I have a visual slice of game play, it was all good. An intense but satisfying week.