Starting in the animation department, Cat’s professor Mike Patterson recommended her to get game design advice from Richard Lemarchand at USC Games who used to work on Uncharted. By his recommendation, she met Jane Pinckard, who became her teacher in January 2018. Cat also took Jane’s social games class, sponsored by Zynga, where she was mentored by Katherine James, design lead at Zynga.
Eventually creating a working demo, Cat pitched the game against ~20 other submissions. It was greenlit!
This means, that the team will be taught by amazing USC Games faculty, Danny Bilson, David White, Dennis Wixon, Martzi Campos, Jesse Vigil, Aaron Casillas, Jim Huntley, Matt Whiting, and Scott Easley.From her early recruits, only Kaitlyn and Diego stayed with the project after greenlight. In May, Cat recruited Jerica and Emily, who eventually became leads on the project.
Staying in contact with KJ throughout the summer, Cat focused on designing the core game loop. Due to a lack of engineers during recruitment, Cat trained underclassmen Stephanie Huynh, Luting Wang, and David Dai with coding in C# and the Unity game engine. Excited for an opportunity to join a games team, they worked hard to become engineers on the game, meeting Cat almost daily to learn the program.
When the school year started, Domain recruited many engineers, since this was an engineering-heavy game. At this time, Dru Erridge, a lead engineer on League of Legends, and Flint Dille, creative lead at Niantic, volunteered to give their time to check out the game and answer the teams’ questions.
Without 6 members available, Cat and Jerica was only able to start playtesting the game design in August, once the school year started. From August to November, the gameplay changed rapidly, and the engineering department had to redo much of their work due to the timeline of the Advanced Games Project class.
Therefore, from November to January, game production became engineering-centric, and we focused on QA testing and fixing all the bugs. From January to May, it has been all a usability challenge. Knowing that our game works, and is fun, our challenge was to make the game easy to understand for players.
Over the course of production, AR was cut, the narrative was changed, and everything was reduced to the simplest working ideas. Often restricted to using our own phones, internal team members met up to play the game every week!
The journey has been fun from beginning to end, getting less tumultuous along the journey, as team members became more familiar with each other. We’ve all learned from our roles, and we are excited to show you our game!