Inertia is a 2D Platformer featuring momentum-based, zero-gravity platforming. In Inertia, you can suspend gravity and travel through space using the power of your own inertia. You must use this ability to find a way to escape a decaying space station full of hazards.
We wanted to do something unique in the Platformer genre, so we came up with the idea about manipulating gravity. Originally, we wanted to combine two mechanics: suspending gravity and changing the direction of gravity. We built a prototype and playtested it, only to realize that we needed to simplify the game in order to make it fun. After extensive prototyping and playtesting, we decided to cut the ability to affect gravitational direction, and to focus on a single versatile mechanic. We designed the levels around the ability of suspending gravity and using inertia to bounce off walls and move through the environment (a.k.a. ‘Nershing’), and Inertia was born.
Inertia features the innovative mechanic of suspending gravity and using your inertia to float and bounce through the environment, which requires both careful planning and skillful execution. As you progress through Inertia, it also makes you feel the solitude of space with its minimalistic soundscape and lack of NPCs. It’s just you and the will to survive in a dangerous environment.
It took 4 weeks of pre-production and 8 weeks of development for the core team to complete the original version of Inertia, which included the first 3 levels. It took 12 weeks of development for the final version of the game, during which the Xbox Integration team (Team Production Productions) added 6 levels and 2 game modes.
Since Inertia was developed at The Guildhall at SMU, without a doubt the hardest part about making it was finding the time to balance between working on the game as a team and individual assignments from other classes. Our artist and programmer were also required to split time with other projects, so the level designers had to fulfill multiple roles in order to get the job done.
One interesting fact about the development of Inertia is the collaboration between the two teams that worked on the title. The original team, Team Hermes (TH), developed the game from initial concept to a fully-functional three level demo. They established the unique gameplay base for the game and showcased how fun the game could be. Team Production Productions (TPP) began working on the game in order to prep it for release on the Xbox Live Indie Games Marketplace. TPP worked on adding new levels and content to the game in close collaboration with TH, who came out of retirement, so to speak, to help create the Inertia! that would eventually see release on Xbox. It was an exciting and unique collaboration in producing the first Guildhall game available on the Xbox Live Indie Games Marketplace.
“Inertia” describes the way you move through the environment when using our unique mechanic of suspending gravity. We considered a bunch of names related to the game’s environment and atmosphere, but “Inertia” is a simple and direct reference to the main hook for our gameplay, so we went with it.
The Guildhall at Southern Methodist University for Graduate
DePauw University for Undergraduate
The earliest gaming memory I have is of playing Donkey Kong on an Atari 2600. Needless to say, I have been playing games ever since.
As students at the Guildhall at SMU for game development education, we have known each other for the past year and a half.
I am currently playing Prince of Persia and Super Meat Boy.
Mass Effect 2
My least favorite would have to be World of Warcraft. I gave it a shot, but it just is not my type of game!
The best game-related story I can think of is actually the pre-production of Inertia. After being at the Guildhall for only two months or so, the team went sleepless for almost three days straight due to our pre-production deadlines and assignments from other classes. While sleepless nights are certainly nothing new in the gaming industry, this was certainly a wake up call for all of us and truly demonstrates just how passionate we were about Inertia. It was definitely a turning point in the development of Inertia and a great team bonding experience, despite being pushed to our limits. It will be a memory that all of us will have forever.
My parents had an Atari 2600 before I was born, but the first system I consciously bought was the Nintendo Entertainment System.
It is a tie between Xbox 360 and PC. If I had to choose one I would say PC.
Well, since being at the Guildhall all my hobbies have become non-existent. Having said that, I look forward to the day I have free time once again so I can play some basketball, ski, read, and design websites.