MonRiverGames members have been working hard this semester to bring our games to life. Between Spy Cats, Dawn of Alina, and One Man’s Trash - developers, artists, and writers honed their skills and flexed their talent through exploring the game development process. We invited Fall 2022 members to share some of their favorite moments and thoughts about their experiences at the studio over the past few months. If you would like to be part of the studio, the sign up link is here: https://tinyurl.com/MRGSignUp
“Game dev is so vast. Whatever your strengths are, there is something in game dev for you.” Zach, vice president of the WVU Game Developer’s Club, joined MonRiverGames in the summer of 2022. He served as one of the primary developers during the fall semester, working on all titles, as well as independent projects of his own.
“I like to challenge myself,” he said. His favorite experiences from this semester were the ones that were the most difficult to figure out. Between learning how to animate characters and configuring a player inventory to save its state, Zach faced challenges head-on. He also enjoyed writing a blog for the MonRiverGames website, something he had never done before. “It was a really fun experience,” said Zach. “You are part of something larger than just doing assignments for a class. You’re part of a studio.” Zach will graduate in spring of 2023 as a computer science major.
Favorite Game: Red Dead Redemption 2
“Do not be afraid to make mistakes.” Malachi, a new member of MonRiverGames as of this fall, dove headfirst into both design and development throughout the semester. His favorite experience was creating assets for One Man’s Trash as part of a team. He enjoyed “working off of Emma,” the creative director behind the game, and “really thinking about how to create things in a certain way” to incorporate other’s ideas and creations.
Malachi also challenged himself to learn new things. “The learning curve was frustrating,” he said about his first experience with Unity and C# programming. “I literally wanted to pull my hair out.” Although it was a challenge, designing and programming a level independently cemented Spy Cats as his favorite studio game of the semester. Malachi is an advertising and public relations major and will graduate in the spring of 2023.
Favorite Game: Call of Duty: Black Ops II
“Never stop exploring outside of the class,” said David. “Take the initiative to go learn different things.” Throughout the fall semester, David supported MonRiverGames as a primary developer on Spy Cats and Dawn of Alina. He said his favorite experience, as well as his most challenging experience, was troubleshooting and polishing code from other developers. “It felt cool to do more in a project instead of just doing tasks and jumping through everybody’s code,” he said.
“It was cool seeing other people’s ideas and how they implemented it versus how you would.” David supported MonRiverGames by combining individually developed levels into a cohesive game to be play-tested at events like BitBridge and the WVU art/media showcase. He also developed original games throughout the semester, including Kevin, which were tested and given feedback by the studio. David looks forward to graduating in December 2022 with a major in Interactive Design for Media.
Favorite Game: The Last of Us Series
“It was cool to try a bunch of different things.” Tessla left her mark on the studio this semester as a designer, artist, and programmer. Originally recruited from the computer science department, she delved into Blender modeling to create her first 3D model of a dragon by following a Udemy course. Her programming expertise is evident in one of her favorite and most challenging experiences this semester. She loved creating a complete dialogue editor for One Man’s trash, and was challenged when creating an entire original editor for the inventory system. Much like her Blender model, she was self-taught in many of her programming endeavors, utilizing tutorials and online resources to finish her projects.
Tessla also created the concept and pitch for Spy Cats, which was a semester-long project that allowed each student to design and develop their own individual level. As a multifaceted member of MonRiverGames, Tessla recommends that those interested in developing for the studio have some prior experience programming. She advises those not coming from a computer science background to try taking CS 110 or prepare in advance. Tessla will graduate in the spring of 2023 with a degree in computer science.
Favorite Game: Stardew Valley
“Take this class if you’re truly interested in game design.” As president of the UI/UX Club, Jackson offered a unique perspective and talent to MonRiverGames this semester. His graphic designs can be seen throughout the layouts of various studio games. Jackson’s favorite studio game, Spy Cats, features a custom level selector layout of his creation with “top secret” folders and a hidden stage.
While the fall was his first semester of MonRiverGames, Jackson’s previous programming experience helped him create a robust Doodle Jump clone, as well as a polished independent level for Spy Cats. His favorite part of Spy Cats was coding his cat to do backflips during the jumping animation. Although he enjoyed his work with MonRiverGames, as he prepares to enter the graphic design industry, Jackson recommends that students with a stronger interest in UI or UX take advantage of the spring capstone that emphasizes that curriculum. He looks forward to graduating in December of 2022 with a major in Interactive Design for Media.
Favorite Game: God of War (2018)