GCG Feature: 'Student Postmortem: AI of LA's Monster Smash'

The latest feature for Gamasutra sister educational site Game Career Guide presents a postmortem of Art Institute of Los Angeles student game Monster
The latest feature for Gamasutra sister educational site Game Career Guide presents a postmortem of Art Institute of Los Angeles student game Monster Smash, an Unreal Tournament 2003 engine based deathmatch game centered around monsters from the classic Universal movies. In this excerpt, the Game Wizards team's Edward Soehendra says that the group camaraderie and shared enthusiasm for the game production was one of the best things that went right: "Monster Smash was divided into six teams, each with their own respective leaders. We had all teams divided according to the respective areas that each monster resides in the level. Every Wednesday, Game Wizards members would book a computer lab and work together all night as a team. We were not doing this for an extra grade; neither were we doing this to impress anybody. "We simply love what we do and I couldn't bear to go to sleep and leave other teams working on an area that wasn't finished," recalled Edward, the Lead Level Designer." But that enthusiasm and ambition also worked to the team's disadvantage at times: "We had very big ambition for Monster Smash; we generated a lot of awesome ideas and unfortunately like any other game, not all of them could be implemented in the level. One of the negative tolls that we had to endure was the size of the level. Each lead had ambitions as big as a whole entire new game and as a result the levels became very massive and boring. In the beginning the Werewolf and the Sea Creature were totally secluded. Located at the forest, outside of the mansion, players would get lost in the woods and had trouble finding their way back to the mansion. Thus the game felt more like a hide and seek game rather than the initial idea that we had. As each week progressed, instead of cutting down the size of the level, we addressed this issue by covering the area with more and more static meshes that were getting quite impossible to finish by the deadline." You can now read the full Game Career Guide feature on the subject, with more from the students concerning the development successes and difficulties that went into creating Monster Smash (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).

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