Universal GameDev Challenge Vertical Slice Development
Hello everyone, we are From the Future, a game development studio based in Denton, Texas, USA. We are super excited to be a part of this contest and consider it to be an honor to be chosen as a finalist considering the number of exceptional entries. We can’t begin to tell you how thrilled we are to be working on a concept for Battlestar Galactica, one of the best sci fi dramas ever. This is evidenced by a couple of developers wearing Viper pilot suits… daily! And because of the looming contest deadline and all the work they have put in they actually look like they have been on the run from Cylons for months on end.
We have nine people on our team that perform a variety of roles. Everyone contributes to design and wear many hats, so only their major functions are listed here. In order of seniority they are:
Mike Christian - Design, Programming
Stephen Hess - Programming
Joey Bryant - Art
Kyle Rives - Art, Level Design
Ian Walker - Programming
Zachary Corley - Programming
Tanner Van De Walle - Programming
Cassiee Latshaw - Programming
Sean Clark - Communications, Audio, QA
Everyone on the team is an experienced developer. Our last game is a VR title named Hopalong: The Badlands. This game can be found on Steam, Viveport, and PS4 VR.
What We Learned In Phase One
When we first heard about the IP available in the Universal GameDev contest our first thought was, “Everybody is going to pitch a Battlestar Galactica game!”. So we decided to pitch a Jaws game.
We worked on the Jaws pitch for over two weeks and the idea seemed crazy fun. But when we stepped back and looked at it objectively, we realized that it wasn’t really a Jaws game. The game was more like Sharknado meets Spring Break meets Fortnite. Fun. But not Jaws. This was a learning moment. We realized our heart was in Battlestar Galactica, not Jaws, and that’s why the Jaws design was spiraling out of control. We started over and followed what felt true and right.
What We Learned in Phase Two
Game development is hard! But we already knew this, this is not what we are learning. What we are learning is the exquisite balancing act required to deliver a vertical slice of a beloved IP to the world with a short schedule while also working on paying projects to put food on the table.
When we gathered together to design the vertical slice for phase two we felt it was important to have some guiding principles to help shape the design. We came up with the following three:
1. Make the player feel they are in the Battlestar Galactica Universe and are mankind's last hope.
2. Enable the player to experience what it is like to be relentlessly pursued by Cylons but empowered to engage with them like a badass.
3. Thrill the player with the possibility of being a Cylon or being deceived by Cylon teammates.
These principles helped us hone in on what is important in our design for the vertical slice and to stay on track with our decision making.
It’s not easy, but anything worthwhile never is. Thankfully it is fun, despite the hard work. Our only concern is that one of us may actually be a Cylon! At least we like to think so when we find bugs in the code. ;-)
Cylon sabotage aside, we are happy to have made it this far. After having met our fellow contestants, we know that each team is deserving and we truly wish everyone the best of luck!