Drop Drop the Game

What do You Want? IGF follow- up by Spencer Buchanan
January 25, 2013, 9:13 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

So the last few days have been interesting for us as we made a bit of a stink on the blog about the IGF. We debated for half a day before we wrote anything. I did not want to come off as someone butt-hurt and whiny. My goal is not to look like a whistle blower. After much debate, one of our Executive Producers asked “What do you really want out of all this?”

What we want –

  • More dialogue. Talk about the IGF. Help it run better. Find ways to make sure that everyone is getting a fair chance. But talk about it. There have been concerns on how things are run and I encourage everyone to make sure they are accountable for their actions. 
  • Fair chance for all – If there is need for special hardware and it is offered in the submission, then make sure they have a fair chance like the rest. 

What we dont want 

  • A “re-review” of our game. I am proud of the short list. They are all fascinating games and I congratulate them. I do not feel DropDrop is more deserving. 
  • We dont want to be the whiner that just makes a stink and disappears. We want to be part of the video game industry and we want to work together to make it better. 

IGF Nominees Are In- Analytics Tells us something more… by Spencer Buchanan
January 23, 2013, 8:47 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

IGF just posted their nominees for the student games. Regretfully we are not on the list. Looking over the list, there is some very inventive gameplay and experiences to be held. Congrats to the winners as they deserve it.

Last year there was an interesting event happened that someone found their game was hardly opened by the judges. Spencer had an itch that he wanted to scratch. We put in analytics in our game to see how often it got played. We also wanted to include analytics in our game to measure use and hardware used since we are making a kinect game.

The numbers showed us something disappointing. The day after the nominees are announced, the only computer that ran our game was our own. We entered a game into a very prestigious competition and no one opened our game.

We hate to make a stink about this, but two years running and there is proof of games not being judged means there is something wrong with the system.

Post IGF Break by Sterling N. Pierce
November 5, 2012, 3:42 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

After we submitted DropDrop to IGF, we took the rest of the week off so that we could rest up and get focused for pushing the game next semester.  Two things that we have noticed with this is 1-) it was a little more difficult to get the team re-engaged into the project and 2-) because of the amount of pressure that we were under in getting the submission to IGF completed, it gave a false sense of the project to being completed.

We meet during class and discussed what we would like to see implemented for the rest of the semester as well as began to list what we would like to see by the time we need to publish the game next semester.  What is great about the engineering implementation that we have done thus far, it will allow us to bring in many other cities/levels within the game.  For instance, we discussed the possibility of having specific cityscapes such as:  China Town, Egyptian, etc.  With this, it not only gives the artists an opportunity for them to expand and think of other hard surface model possibilities as well as visual effects specifically with the lanterns hanging on wires for the China Town level concept, but will also allow more variety within our game.

We are also looking into getting analytics into the game so that we can determine if there are any issues within the game that we have overlooked as well as getting data feedback on different aspects of our game.  We have some great things that are ahead for the team.

We Did It! by Spencer Buchanan
October 31, 2012, 12:52 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The following is a letter sent at 6 am this morning –

We would like to announce that Drop Drop has been officially submitted to the IGF.

Sterling and I want to congratulate you all on all your hard work and sacrifices that have been made. This game proves some valuable points about each of us.
1. More than ever, we know what it means to iterate. Good job.
2. We finished it. We hit a milestone 18 hours early and we completed it to this point. Great work all.

Bask in this glory and enjoy the pizza or whatever the professors bring for us today. Be happy with what we accomplished with what we had to work with.

Fair warning, don’t get too comfortable because we have a lot more work to do to get this thing fully published. Put that in the back of your mind and relish in this moment because it is huge!
You can check out the trailer here.

Tasks and Motivation by Spencer Buchanan
September 24, 2012, 5:24 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

This last week has seen some large changes for how we accomplish tasks.

One of the biggest problems with the simulation of a game studio at school is that somewhere back in your mind, you know everyone is not paid to be here. Everyone is paying just as much as you to be there. Everyone wants the most out of the experience, but that “most” is different for every person. Trying to maximize that for each is hard, but is also the producers responsibility.  So how do we do that?

With a lot of reconstruction of the team and the game as a whole recently we had a chance to reassess these questions.

Sterling did a great poll of each person on the team and asked what they want most out of this program. What was our dream job on the thesis game? It was not guaranteed to be what we get to do, but we tried to make that a main motivator for each team member. Just do what you really want to do.

The next thing was we brought in our Executive Producer/Professor Mark to make sure we are doing things to his liking. He emphasized that we need to just do sticky notes and everyone owns a sticky note for a task.

The other side of this is that he is going to act more like a professor and grade our sticky notes. He will be making sure everything looks acceptable on the feature one is to implement. If it is not, they get an F for the week and they get to do it again. If they get another F then the assignment is passed onto another. At that point, there are some serious talks about the persons work with the professor and they have a little “come to Jesus” moment.

This part of tasks and motivation is quite childish, but when the team is not able to see the project anymore than a simulation then a new level of motivation needs to be implemented.

The simulation can work. If we all had the right work ethic and the right mindset to get the job done, it could get there. However because this is school, we come to school to learn and none of us are at the same level of work ethic. Hopefully we will all get there sooner than later, but whatever it takes to get there we need to do it.

We are trying to get ready for an industry that wont put up with whining or crying that someone does not like what we did. Plus, and F is the least of our worries.

So it Goes by Spencer Buchanan
September 23, 2012, 5:09 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Making art for the team has been troublesome since the direction has changed a lot. We are trying to keep what we can, but a lot is being left out. So it goes.
(Spencer recently read Slaughterhouse 5 and that is all he says now.)

We are working on figuring out the character and the layout. Christian put together this great look and feel guideline that helps us see what the game will look like and how that integrates with our goal to make the player feel involved with the gamespace.



 At this point, we have talked about making the environment look run-down and abandoned.

 We still want to make it look like a city, but at first it will look dry and lifeless.

 Once the player has reached the bottom, the parts that have been hydrated will look new again.

Look of the level before player starts:

 Dilapidated/Run-down

 Abandoned/Desolation

 Dry/Parched

 Cold

Look of the level after player splashes down:

 Revitalized

 Energized

 Warm

 Back from the dead

 “Phoenix rising”


 Hong Kong slums

 Darksiders level “the cross roads”

 9 movie: house or factory

 Total Recall




Possible Color Pallets:





Relationships by Spencer Buchanan
September 20, 2012, 5:01 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

We have found a really interesting problem. Everything affects everything else. Duh.

This has added a lot of frustration among the three main groups, engineers, artists and designers. All have a level of dependence on the other groups and it proves difficult waiting on the others.

Since our move to DropDrop, we have seen that greatly improve. Design definitely trickles down to the others more than most and so Sterling is working on making everything more accessible in a design doc/wiki that anyone can access.

This has kept the art moving and the engineering in the right direction.

Dan had an internship at EA in Salt Lake City, and he was shocked he never had to see a designer because his documentation was so clear. We are doing our best to live up to that, and it is not the easiest. Spencer has to do similar documentation for the art side now that he is honing the look and feel of the game. Fortunately he has the visual art background, but he is relying on the artists to work together to figure out alot of the answers. We have a lot of talent and having just Spencer figure out that look would be wasting that talent.

The biggest trick with the relationships is the game changes, but the relationships do not. They stayed and though it sounds like we can restart how we interact with each other, it proves more difficult. It sounds good on paper that our relationships are iterating much like the game is, but communism sounded good on paper too.