Submitted By:
Team 3
Watch Their Video
Game Type:
Core
Game Platform:
Windows
Class:
Non-Professional
Credits:
Joshua Maiche

Team Leader, Producer, Physics, Tools, Gameplay Programmer

Brian Lee

Gameplay Designer, Graphics Programmer, Artist, Music

Mike Halbrook

Level Designer

Ben Frazier

Level Designer

Andrew Hall

Level Designer, Tools

Non-Professional Grand Prize Winner
Game Title:
Gear




Team 3’s Indie
Game Challenge Experience
WHAT WAS THE IGC EXPERIENCE LIKE FOR TEAM 3?

The experience was amazing! From the time we were announced as a finalist, everything was way easier than what I had anticipated. This was my first award ceremony, so I was a bit worried that I would screw up somehow, but everyone was so nice and knew exactly what they were doing, so it all worked out incredibly well. From the beginning, representatives from IGC contacted us, let us know exactly what we needed, and walked us through any parts we had trouble with.


Once we got there, more representatives explained how the showcase was set up, and when the big events were. This was also where we got to meet most of the IGC finalists, which was great, because they were all very friendly and a blast to talk to. After that, we were free to attend D.I.C.E. until a few days later, when the actual award ceremony would take place. D.I.C.E. was also amazing, but it spanned three days, so that would be a bit much to talk about.


The day of the ceremony, we started the morning by having the day’s schedule laid out for us. We had one or two interviews with some press, which was painless because the journalists were also super nice. The big thing that had me scared was the company meetings. We were going to meet with companies to discuss our game with them, and I just kept worrying about the worst things that could happen. This wasn’t the case; the company representatives were all very easy to talk to, and the conversations went by smoothly.

Finally, the award ceremony was terrific. There was a bit of time before the ceremony actually started, so all the IGC finalists got to talk to developers and other finalists. Once the award ceremony started, Adam Sessler started interviewing the team leads. While the concept of this originally seemed terrifying to me, it was hard not to be comfortable talking with Sessler; he always seemed so interested in what the leads had to say that it was easy to forget they were being interviewed.


After the awards wrapped up, we got to talk to a few more people, and then the night was over. I know I used the words “friendly” and “nice” frequently in this answer, but that’s because these are the things that really stood out to me; nearly everyone we met was extremely friendly and nice, and this is what made the IGC experience fantastic for me.



WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO 2011 IGC ENTRANTS?

If you’re currently shooting for IGC, the best advice I can give to increase your chances of winning is this: relentlessly playtest your game. We had trouble accurately gauging what players would like or dislike in our game, it took actual players for us to know how people would like our game. In the end, if you’re entering this game in competitions, the game is now no longer made for you; it’s made for other people. If you want to be sure other people enjoy your game, there’s no better way to know than to playtest.


If you actually placed in IGC, I would strongly recommend attending D.I.C.E. if you get the chance, and I would urge you to talk to everyone you meet. Most people were a lot more approachable than I actually expected, and it was great getting to meet our IGC peers as well as devs outside of the competition.


Finally, this is bit specific, but if the IGC does take place at Red Rock again, if you can afford it, make sure you get your rooms there. It’s just so convenient to have your room in the same building as the event you’re attending.



WHAT UNEXPECTED BENEFITS CAN FINALISTS EXPECT?

We met a lot of cool people we didn’t expect to meet. I was expecting to have good conversations with other IGC finalists since they were in similar situations to us and had gone through similar trials to get to IGC, but it was amazing how easy some of the professional devs were to talk to. Initially, I was expecting IGC to be an overwhelming networking experience–very stiff and professional–but it was great to see that some devs would gladly talk to you about anything they were passionate about. The whole experience was amazing, but while there are an overwhelming number of benefits to making it to the finals, and while some benefits might be more beneficial career-wise than just talking to people, for me, the amazing conversations I got to have with people was my favorite part.



AS PLAYERS YOURSELF, WHICH 2010 FINALIST GAME DID YOU ENJOY MOST?

We liked all the games we got to play! All the games we played were amazing–the trailers for the games, while great, don’t fully show how fun these games are. We had a great time playing the games this year, and we hope to get to play some of next year’s games too.



WHAT IS THE LATEST NEWS FROM TEAM 3?

We are currently planning on expanding Gear over the summer. If anyone’s interested, we will probably be posting more info on Gear’s site at http://www.b-lee.net/gear/

Game Background
Game Description:

Gear is a 2D puzzle-platformer in which the player controls a robot
with the ability to change his hand into a gear. The player will have
to swing around sockets, ride on rails, swim, and even rotate the
world in order to get through ten unique levels and beat the boss.




What was your inspiration for making the game?

We wanted to make a cool platformer that involved rotation. Our main
game inspirations were the original Bionic Commando, Mischief Makers,
and Drill Dozer.




How is your game unique from others out there?

Apart from the obvious answer of different gameplay mechanics, we also
aimed for tutorials that were as non-invasive as possible. That’s why
whenever we introduced a new mechanic to the player, we would give the
player a moment to try to figure out the mechanic themselves. This
way, we could avoid irritating the player with aggravating tutorials
if they knew what to do, while still explaining the mechanics to
players that were new to the game. Also, we tried to create a simple
yet robust level editor that would make creating levels fast and fun
while still being easy enough for the player to quickly understand.




How long did it take you to make your game?

14 Months.




What was the hardest part about making it?

Playtesting. It was easy to come up with concepts and enjoy them
ourselves, but it was a lot harder to ease the player into new
mechanics and make them feel comfortable moving around.




Any other unique or interesting facts about your game we should know about?

The robot and the boss were voiced by the same guy.




How did you pick the name of your game?  Did you have any others in mind?

The game name was a placeholder, since we had to have a name.

Eventually, it just stuck.




Questions for the Team Leader
Hometown?

I’ve moved around a lot, so I don’t really have a hometown.




College?

DigiPen Institute of Technology




What is your gaming background?

I’ve been gaming since I was five, and I owned my first console when I
was 7. I’ve always been a console gamer, and I prefer action/adventure
games and RPGs.




How long have you and your teammates known each other?  What’s the story behind how your team got together?

Half the team met each other in our game project class the day we had
to form a team. We were the only ones without any teammates, so we
teamed up together. After nine months of development, we decided to
refine the game to be able to enter it in competitions, so we added
two designers to the team.




What game or games are you playing right now?

None, because I’m too busy working.




What is your favorite all-time game?

I can’t pick one. My current favorites are Donkey Kong Country 2,
Final Fantasy 9, Rayman, Nightmare Ned, Bomberman 64, Super Smash
Bros. Melee, Cubivore, In the Groove, Chibi-Robo, and the Metroid
Prime Trilogy.




What is your least favorite all-time game?

Either Prince of Persia (XBOX360), Bomberman Jetters (GCN), or Final
Fantasy XII (PS2). I tend to hold sequels of games I’ve enjoyed up to
higher standards, so I get much more disappointed if I don’t enjoy them.




First video game system you owned?

A SNES, with The Jungle Book and Super Mario All-Stars




Current system you spend the most time playing?

Wii.




When you and your team aren’t making awesome games, what other hobbies are you involved in?

I don’t have a lot of free time because of school, but when I do have
a moment, I love reading.