CS248 – Best Game!

Whoo….now that cs248 is finally all done and over with, after a very…interesting, day of presentations (the logistics were kind of totally ridiculous…totally ridiculous…), we’ve got our famed Best Game award under our belt.  Very deservedly so, actually, I would say.  Not to say that the other entries sucked or anything, because they were pretty cool, but we definitely were the ones that stood out as having an actual full game there, as opposed to something that looked more like a tech demo or whatnot.  Some of the other ones had some gameplay in there too, but you could tell that we focused on that first and foremost, and it showed.  We even had one of the jury members tell us that it seemed like some of our graphical elements seemed like they might be getting lost because they aren’t prevalent enough to be noticed, but that’s fine–we’d much rather them tell us that then tell us that our gameplay wasn’t matching up to our graphics.

We also had the most polished game by far, probably partly owing to the fact that we pretty much finished on sunday, but also because we just spent a lot of time making things nice as we went along.  We were one of few games that had a title screen, but it goes farther than that–our title screen has a spectrogram visualization in the background, blob physics making up the letters in the foreground (the blobs even pulsate to the music, and spin around)…there are sounds for keypresses in the menu…so yeah, this really feels like a game, and not just some final class project.  Which, you know, makes perfect sense considering the experience that both of us have, particularly me with Ludum Dare and all of the other game dev stuff I’ve done (KeyBlox, Gem Attack, even LoopMuse).  Plus, we have lag calibration, music by yours truly, sound effects by yours truly, note charts by yours truly etc etc etc.  I should also mention I think we were one of the only groups that didn’t use outside content…most other groups used textures or even meshes downloaded off of the internet for free, but we created basically =everything= ourselves, except for like our font.  One guy at the presentation actually asked me what I was using for the music, which I kind of tried to wave off at first as “oh you know, I’ve been producing electronic music for 7 years, so yeah…” but he actually wanted to know what synth I was using so I explained a little bit about how I use FL studio and 3xOsc, etc etc.

We were trying to figure out what the course staff were trying to look for when they were picking games to show to the jury at the competition…out of 40 games they picked 6, and we just felt like…I don’t know, we felt like there should have been better.  Or at least, we didn’t understand what they were trying to do with some of their choices.  We could see, for example, one or two of them would definitely never have gotten Best Game because they pretty much didn’t have gameplay to speak of (CEO of EA asked them what the point/objective of the game was…), so we’re thinking those might have been chosen with the Technical and Creative achievement awards in mind…but, we saw at least one other game earlier in the morning that had pretty comparable technical achievement, and that didn’t get picked.  One of the finalists was also a CCRMA entry, that was completely and utterly…CCRMA-ish.  Take that how you will, but we were kind of scratching our heads wondering why they included that one as a finalist, since it’s interesting but isn’t really a game, and doesn’t really “fit”…

Well, I guess I should also mention that our prof had a =really= hard time understanding our game, for some reason…you could see he’s used to you know, FPSes and platformers and such, and had never played guitar hero or anything, so he was totally confused at the premise of our rhythm game.  “It’s too overconstrained!” he said xD.  I think he just couldn’t fathom why you would ever play a game where you don’t control your character’s movement and can’t dodge the bullets that are being shot at you.  The TAs had to vehemently explain it to him…

Yeah, anyways, lots of ridiculousness throughout the day.  Anyhow, we did good, as we thought we should have, and even though we felt like in some respects we didn’t have quite that much competition for the Best Game award (since we definitely focused on being a =game= first), we figured that even if we had had a little more competition, we still would have done well.

Plus, we got to talk to Jonathan Blow!!!  I think regardless of what he said we would have had the same impression of him just because his reputation precedes him, but regardless, you could definitely tell that he had that indie game background, particularly compared to the CEO of EA, haha.  It was fun hearing him talk…and felt really good hearing him praise our game. *awe*

There’s lots more stories to tell about that whole day (really, it was totally ridiculous), but anyways, now that it’s all over, I spent all of Wednesday just kicking back and relaxing, plus going to dancebreak, which was nice.  Unfortunately it seems like allergies have just now made their spring comeback, so I’ve been pretty miserable at some points, and probably will be for the next few days until my body adjusts.  I’ve got an appointment at Vaden in 4 hours so I can get a flonase refill and such, so hopefully that might help.  ugh.

But yeah, the only thing left now is the Japanese final, which I think I’ll take in about 5 hours…I haven’t studied at all for it, but I think it’s better to take it today than tomorrow since I plan on going home to have lunch with the PlayMesh crew tomorrow, plus I have an outing with friends (at Gombei!), plus FNW, so that’s gonna be busy.  I just woke up not too long ago from a nap, and before that I spent 2 hours going through the beginning of Katawa Shoujo, which I’m enjoying despite having read mixed reviews about it.  I think regardless of its merits or demerits, it’s still a piece of writing with some nice enjoyable elements, and it’s refreshing to finally sit down again and be reading.  I definitely felt my eyelids getting heavy as I was getting to the point where I wanted to stop for the night…so yeah, pretty much parallel to those nights where you stay up longer and longer because you want to keep reading that book.  It’s great to be reading again…

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