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GCG Feature: 'Student Postmortem: DigiPen’s Base Invaders'

In the latest feature for Gamasutra sister educational site Game Career Guide, DigiPen student team Seventh Sigma discuss what went right and what went wrong d
In the latest feature for Gamasutra sister educational site Game Career Guide, DigiPen student team Seventh Sigma discuss what went right and what went wrong during the development process of their IGF Student Showcase finalist Base Invaders. In his introduction, team programmer Matt Miner explains says that one of developmental downfalls of Base Invaders, described by the team as an action-oriented real time strategy game akin to a combination of Tower Defense, Defend Your Castle, and Lemmings, was simply that as the game progressed, expectations soon moved out of the realm of student game and into those for a professional product, adding pressure to the team: "Expectations Keep Rising. During the development of Base Invaders, it quickly became apparent that we were working on one of the most full featured games ever developed at DigiPen. As the semester progressed, a subtle thing happened: Our game stopped being compared to the other student games, and started being compared with professional products. Suddenly, the stages that before were great for a student game became only ok for a professional game. Having a large amount of unique content doesn’t matter if you have to slowly dish it out over the course of a dozen stages, most of which will never be played by the average gamer. Student games can get away with being short, having a high-minded concept, or (gasp) being a dull tech demo, but a professional quality game has to stay fun, use modern technology, and have gameplay that keeps that user playing. In the end, the higher expectations put down on Base Invaders caused us to stretch our team a bit tighter than we should have. Certain aspects of the game lack the polish they should have, while others were included simply because they demonstrate a feature that would otherwise have gone unused. If we had tried to lower the expectations we might have been able to get away with fewer, more polished areas, and a game that was great in all aspects. ” You can now read the full Game Career Guide feature with more from the Seventh Sigma team on the parts of Base Invaders that went right, including good dynamics between the coding team and the artists, and the team's plans for Base Invaders: The Animated Series (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).

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