School Supplies and Dylan Sprouse
In case you’ve missed it, I have already written about my grad school studio, NYU’s Game Center, and shared a few wonderful indie games I had playtested during our weekly events here. Finally time to talk about the game I made in Unity and my own experience with playtesting!
Because I’m not a game design student, the process of making games is kind of different for me. Unlike game design students, unfortunately we didn’t have the chance to form groups to brainstorm concepts, design artwork, then program games. In my short game design elective, we built prototypes every week using Unity 5 to learn the basic structure. However, in the last two weeks of class we had to turn one of our prototypes into a final presentation of our learning process for our grade.
Thus, Pencils VS Erasers was born!
Pencils VS Erasers started as a silly spaceshooter prototype I built following a basic spaceshooter tutorial. Everyone in my class seemed to find my idea hilarious, so I decided to keep working on it for my final. There are three types of pencils that shoot bullets of various intensity against three types of erasers of various resistance. A demo can currently be played here in any browser except Chrome (it has an ongoing fight with Unity). Because my classmates also liked my scribbly placeholder art, I didn’t end up replacing it with actual artwork like I had wanted to.
It is only three levels, but I am not sure how I made this game insanely hard. I had at least 10 friends playtest and comment on every iteration before this one, and throughout each they all complained about its difficulty whether they were a gamer or a non-gamer. My goal ultimately was to make the game easier, but somehow the final version is so hard I’ve only witnessed one person beat it. I can’t even beat it myself! GAH!
I didn’t playtest my game at our weekly playtest events, but on the day of my final presentation, I got a once-in-a-lifetime feedback from none other than Dylan Sprouse.
Dylan Sprouse had been taking classes in the Game Center before graduating this May. Since the Game Center is mostly guys, people didn’t act like crazy fans. Guys have casually mentioned speaking to him in passing, but girls usually just giggled about him being around. I didn’t see him for most of the semester so I feel so blessed to have met him on the LAST day of classes ever. I seized my chance the moment a guy walked into the lab where I was working with a bunch of girls and said Dylan was at the last playtest event right outside, and it was “now or never.”
He is the first celebrity I have met, and is really just another nice and easy to talk to human being. I just told him I am his fan and would like his opinion on my game, and he treated me like a fellow student by playing and asking me about my work-in-progress. Dylan’s suggestion for my game was getting rid of the left and right controls, then add a pencil scratching sound the moment the erasers get shot. Meeting Dylan made me 20 minutes late for my own final, but my professor as well as all my classmates laughed at my reason. I got an A in the class no matter.
I wish to add more details to the pencils and erasers, and make the game more interactive like Plants VS Zombies. However it’s easier said than done since I have so many other plans to move forward my career and thesis. I do not know how much I will actually be working on this game but it was definitely quite a memorable prototype for me. I won’t ever forget about it.