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GCG Feature: Student Postmortem: Happy Traps

Seven students, fresh out of high school and enrolled in the Media Design School in New Zealand, developed a video game in just 8 weeks. A new postmortem on sister site Ga

Jill Duffy, Blogger

November 29, 2007

2 Min Read

Seven students, straight out of high school and currently enrolled in the Media Design School in New Zealand, developed a game in just 8 weeks. A new postmortem on sister site GameCareerGuide.com looks at what went right and wrong during this short development cycle. In this excerpt, the students explain their level of learning as well as what subjects they studied in preparation for making the game: “As part of the Media Design School's (Auckland, New Zealand) diploma of Interactive Gaming, our class was required to undertake a group project, demonstrating the programming skills we had acquired during the previous six months in the course. The course is designed to take students fresh from high school and intensely train them to become game programmers. The project was to last eight weeks, and we were to follow a strict schedule and hit specified milestones. We were warned on the very first day of the course that it was an intense learning environment. This included 24 hours per week of contact learning, with an additional 16 hours required outside of scheduled class time -- 40 hours per week, minimum. Our team of seven students, with no prior programming experience worth mentioning, developed a game called Happy Traps. The focus of the course was comprehensive training in C++. This was by no means a glossy, high-level review of theory, but a detailed (sometimes head-ache inducing) low-level practical approach. Console, STL, data structures, OOA, OOD, OOP, and Windows GDI were all covered at length, with countless game-based assignments throughout. Mathematics was also a core component. Tutors took a bottom-up approach, and provided practical applications and game-based examples for vectors, matrices, quaternions, affine transformations, analytical trigonometry, analytical geometry, collision detection, and response. All of this was reinforced with several game-based assignments. Finally, we moved into 3D graphics programming. DirectX was the API we were exposed to. All the knowledge we had accumulated came together in this segment when we were given the opportunity to write our own 3D game from scratch -- no middleware and no external libraries (apart from DirectX). This was a truly amazing time, and the discussion among the students was typically in the vein of, 'Wow! We're really doing it. We're making 3D games!' You can now read the complete postmortem on GameCareerGuide.com, including more detail into the making of the student title.

About the Author(s)

Jill Duffy


Jill Duffy is the departments editor at Game Developer magazine. Contact her at [email protected].

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