Showcase features entertaining games

PARTICIPANTS IN THE GAME DEVELOPMENT CLUB’S SHOWCASE PLAY many indie games with each other.

The Rensselaer Game Development Club hosted the 2011 Game Development Showcase on Saturday in the McNeil Room. The intent of the showcase was to present games made by RPI students and local developers, and let people play them in brief tournaments. Laptops were set up around the room with playable game demos for the audience to check out. Food was also provided—there were aluminum tubs of chicken and salad with zesty Italian dressing.

The event kicked off with a Pong tournament with double elimination. An overhead projector displayed Pong tournament battles; the particular version of Pong played here was brewed up by the Game Development Club and featured trippy particle effects.

There were many games offered up for play, but I only played a few of them. A Tale of Two Castles is a button-masher with strategy: Mash buttons to create civilians and military units and obtain resources like gold. The game required caution to make sure you didn’t waste time creating one item when another could be more useful. For example, since the castles in the game could be repaired by engineers, it was usually a waste of time to use military units to attack the castle; the military would leave the screen right after attacking. Maneuvers required strategy and planning. I ended up developing a strategy to quickly create scientists and gain access to new technology, so I could send out dragons.

In my opinion, the game was a standout. It was technologically simple, but enjoyable and addictive nevertheless. It was continually being tweaked throughout the night for the sake of evening out the play experience, creating a rock-paper-scissors effect amongst different battle units. For example, dragons were at first overpowered, so their cost was increased to 1000. I ended up having to change my original strategy. Not surprisingly, many players (myself included) became riled up while playing.

Fimbulvetr: War of the Great Winter had an enjoyable real-time battle system. The characters in the demo were all sword-fighting rabbits, although other playable characters will be offered in the future. The game’s map used rabbit-head icons to represent miltarymen to move about; my rabbits were red, and the opposition was blue. The game is multiplayer, so I spent my gameplay battling the guy sitting next to me on another laptop.

Bullet Hell is a shoot-’em-up game, requiring you to dodge demons and get “to the finish.” The art was amazing. Unfortunately, I kept forgetting about the spikes on the wall and ran into them enough times that I died before getting to the boss battle, which also looked amazing.

Another multiplayer game, A Game of Cat and Mouse, makes you a mouse trying to get a piece of cheese and go back home. The cat, meanwhile, tries to catch you. The game’s complexity arose from safe zones and power-ups. I personally felt that the cat was overpowered, but I enjoyed evading the cat with devious mouse schemes.

The final two games I played were Robot Glacier Fortress, where you are a Cyborg Nalwalrus with a grappling hook to maneuver about and evade the cornicorns, which are unicorns made of corn (I got stuck when the cornicorns began to shower down all around me), and the puzzle game Individuel. This game was radically different than the others, and involved purchasing clothes different from your neighbors in a very limited amount of time. It tested quick-thinking and observational skills.

Other games showcased at the jam included Dolphin Apocalypse Now III: Dawn of the Dolphins—whose most notable achievement is that the developers created their own dial and photosensor-laden controller designed specifically for the game—Struggles of the Forgotten, Cybits, and Triangle Legacy Revolution.

The only main disappointment of the night was the orange ginger marinade sauce for the chicken, which was greatly overshadowed by the barbeque and buffalo sauces accompanying it. Overall, the Game Development Showcase was a lot of fun.

“It was a success for our first one,” said Reginald Franklin ’14, treasurer of the Game Development Club. “But in the future, now that we know what we’re doing, we’ll make it better.”

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