Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Pump It Up!

Pump It Up is a unity web game developed in javascript that I helped to make. Pump was my first real collaborative project that I'd ever been a part of and was a great learning experience for me!

The project got started in the summer of 2012 as a result of meeting my friend and co-developer Deon at a DemoCamp event hosted by Startup Edmonton. We got talking and Deon began telling me about an idea he had for a video game and asked if I'd be interested in helping to develop it. I'd always been interested in video games and as I was looking to pursue a career in that industry, I jumped at the chance!

We met up again soon after and Deon introduced me to his brother, Don, who would be doing all of the artwork and animation for our game. All of the artwork in this blog post was created by Don!

The previous semester while I was studying at Grant MacEwan University, I'd just completed an introductory course on video game development. It was in that course that I learnt just how much goes into making a game beyond just writing lines of code. I wanted to include my recently gained knowledge about design documents and project schedules etc. in our project and as it turned out, Deon already had begun to work on those. For the next few days we hashed out concept documents, design documents, productions plan and art documents, even a business model! Deon then spent some time turning our rough ideas and excel sheets into professional looking documents, the type you'd expect the Google's and Facebook's would be creating for all of their projects.

With lots of the documentation in place and a schedule of tasks to be completed, it was time to get coding. I'd briefly work with javascript before, mostly just from playing around in creating websites, but this was my first opportunity to really apply what I'd learnt so far and to learn a lot more along the way.

We were fairly good at keeping to our schedule and within a month and a half, had a working product that people could actually play! We had discussed plans to release the game as an app on the iOS app store but upon researching the logistics of doing so, we realized that there would be quite a bit of cost involved. Not only would we need to purchase a Unity iOS license to publish the game as an iOS app, we'd need to purchase an iOS Apple Developer license, and if we wanted to publish the game as a company as opposed to just one of our personal accounts, we'd need to register with the City of Edmonton as a company and have business permits and partnership registrations and all sorts. In the end, we determined that as this was just a beginner project for all of us and was mainly just a learning experience, we'd just treat it as a project to add to each of our resumes and perhaps looking into releasing it again in the future if we had future games to also release.

Pump is a sport that has been played for generations. The goal is to keep the ball off the ground. However, one major rule makes Pump an entirely new beast to conquer: you can’t be in contact with the ball and the ground at the same time! Master timing and technique to force your opponent(s) to mess up, and you could be the next Pump King or Queen!

You can find our initial beta release of the game here.