CSCE 4210 Games from Fall 2008

Ian Parberry's CSCE 4210 (Game Programming 1) students from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering in the College of Engineering and Max Kazemzadeh's Art students from the College of Visual Art and Design were challenged to make a simple game with 2D sprite art that "Really knocks my socks off". The requirements are intentionally vague because even the game industry doesn't know how to make a AAA game every time.

Most of the programming students had never written a Windows program, never written a game, never used Microsoft Visual Studio, never used Microsoft DirectX, and never worked with art students, but they were proficient in C++ under Unix. Most of the art students had never used Photoshop or Maya, never created the art for a game, and never worked with programming students, but they were talented artists in various media including painting, sculpture, and digital media art.

The students had to cope with inexperience, fuzzy requirements, group dynamics, and other demands on their time. In the course of a 15-week semester the students had to learn the tools of the game programming and game art trade and put them into action, while simultaneously taking other classes.

Note that CSCE 4210 is a programming class, not merely a class in scripting. The students were given the source code for a simple game coded in C++ using Visual Studio and DirectX and were challenged to do better.

Ian Parberry's Rating System

Knocks my socks off
Impressive
Pretty good
Underwhelming
Epic Fail

Note that the above rating system doesn't necessarily reflect the students' grades. It is possible for a student on a one-sock game to get an A if their contribution is sufficiently impressive but their partners failed to produce. It is possible for a student on a 4-sock game to get an F if their contribution is sufficiently lacking.

The students were invited to submit their games for industry approval in a game contest held in class approximately 10 days before the final deadline. The judges for the contest were Ian Parberry and Max Kazemzadeh (the professors for the programming and art classes respectively) and two judges from the game industry, Chris Bream and and Ryan Monday from Terminal Reality. The first, second and third place games as judged by the panel at the time of submission are indicated by these icons:

See LARC webpage for more information about game programming classes at the University of North Texas.

Group 0: Blattodea

Programmers: Oludemilade Raji, Gerard Carter
Artist: Eric Flye
Play the Game: Download
Ian Parberry's Rating:

Comments: This is an atmospheric side-scroller in which you play a cockroach, avoiding raindrops and shooting wasps. The background reminds me of the world in Wall-E. The rat animation has a glitch, but aside from that the game is cool.

Group 1: Linus

Programmers: Eric Lorentz, Matt Arntz
Artist: Joe Holland
Play the Game: Download
Ian Parberry's Rating:

Comments: It's interesting that the programmers took the Ned code and successfully turned it into a top-down shooter, but the results are underwhelming.

Group 2: DeathCube

Programmers: Alberto Pena, Sonny Brownlee
Artists: Sean Welch, Harold Mateos
Play the Game: Download
Ian Parberry's Rating:

Comments: An interesting puzzle game in which you have to roll the cube in ways that match the colors on the tile beneath it, this game suffers from incompleteness. What would have made it cool is the ability to generate levels at random, and what would have made it more interesting to play is some in-play hints for the beginner. I very quickly got bored playing it, which is the kiss of death for puzzle games.

Group 3: Ball Drop

Programmers: Andrew Dittman, William Verhoeven, Russell Yermal
Artists: Loui Solomon, Tiffany Mcrae
Play the Game: Download
Ian Parberry's Rating:

Comments: A Marbles clone in which you roll a dinosaur in a ball through various timed obstacles. This game I like a lot. It has multiple levels and challenges. As puzzle games go, this one is the best I have seen for many years.

Group 4: Albino Squirrel

Programmers: Justin Allston, Adam McEndree, Travis Porth
Artists: Amanda Burgess, Shaun Tomerlin
Play the Game: Download
Ian Parberry's Rating:

Comments: A cool side-scroller no doubt motivated by the recent devouring of UNT's famous albino squirrel by a hawk. Squirrel lovers don't need to mourn for too long however, recent births have proven that the albino squirrel apparently spread his genes prolifically through the local squirrel gene pool.

Group 5: Ghost Story

Programmers: Kathryn Clausen, Courtney Miller
Artist: Brett Bullion
Play the Game: Download
Ian Parberry's Rating:

Comments: This game won first place in our game contest for its ethereal graphics and cool game play. Instead of fighting your enemies, you have to manipulate the environment to defeat them. In this demo movie I died fairly quickly, but you can try it out for yourself. Brett's intro movie for the art class is a tour-de-force of light and shadow.

Group 6: Ergosphere

Programmers: Allen Arnold, Katina Ferguson, Mike Wells
Artist: Robert St. Aubin
Play the Game: Download
Ian Parberry's Rating:

Comments: Another cool side-scroller. Good for the end of the day when you just want to blow things up without thinking too much about it.

Group 7: Deus Ex

Programmers: Adam Norris, Robert Cory White, David A. Lucio
Artists: Michele Hindman, Kevin Edgar
Play the Game: Download
Ian Parberry's Rating:

Comments: A side-scroller that I couldn't figure out how to operate. There's some way to shoot I guess. There's a z-order rendering bug too, if you notice.

Group 8: RakeTx

Programmers: Dhanyu Amarasinghe, Gladys Martinez
Artists: Justin Pierce, Christina Day
Play the Game: Download
Ian Parberry's Rating:

Comments: A slightly clunky side-scroller saved by a cool particle engine.

Group 9: Fist Full of Yen

Programmers: Jon Doran, J. R. Razmus, Chris Lewton
Artists: Traci Tisdale, Brett Bullion
Play the Game: Download
Ian Parberry's Rating:

Comments: A highly creative concept piece in which two players can play inside the frames of a comic book, this game placed third in the game contest.

Group 10: Sound Crusher

Programmers: Ricky Smith, Josh Gleaton, Todd Winger
Artists: Jared Nay, Tyler Baimbridge
Play the Game: Download
Ian Parberry's Rating:

Comments: A top-down game whose best feature is the exit movie.

Group 11: DK

Programmers: James Perez, Vincent Liguori, Jeremy Alleman
Artists: Paul Harder, Immanuel Salas, Brett Bullion
Play the Game: Download
Ian Parberry's Rating:

Comments: A cool shooter that features a special gun controller. Watch for the blood splatter effects. The video shows Vincent Liguori using the gun controller in the LARC lab. This game came second in the game contest.


Created December 16, 2008. Last updated January 9, 2009