Archive for Thursday, January 27, 2005

Interterm game time

January 27, 2005

A group of Baker University students now have the knowledge of how to create their own computer games, after taking an Interterm class.

"I enjoyed this class very much," freshman Kyle Paul said. "I'm interested in a lot of computer programming stuff, so I jumped at the chance to take this class."

Professor of Computer Science Denis Popel taught the students the art of designing computer game during the three-week class. He taught them about graphics, game play, controls, codes and even how to implement their sound effects.

"It gives them an opportunity to explore," Popel said. "I've really enjoyed this interterm."

The group of students worked individually or in pairs to create eight games, that varied from Doom style to Mario Brothers games.

"It has some strategy or thinking involved," Popel said. "It's more than just shooting."

There were two games that played similar to a Mario game. The games were titled, "Nightmare" and "Mulvane Madness."

"Nightmare" used sound effects and the Marilyn Manson song "Sweet Dreams" to set the mood during the game. The player killed enemies by jumping on them or shooting them. But "Mulvane Madness" went for a lighter and funnier setting.

"Mulvane Madness" featured a character who moved through three levels fighting off spiders and wasps, while picking up beer for health. The character had to fight two bosses, who were named for Baker professors Popel and Robert Fraga.

"Denis is my computer science professor, so I thought it was fitting," freshman Robert Wood said.

Popel said he didn't mind being a character on one of the games, because it relates the game back to Baker.

"I think it kind of puts the game down to Earth," Popel said. "It can be understood by other students. It's OK for me to be a character in a game and shoot binary codes. It's what I do."

Wood and sophomore Keegan Jones are the creators of "Mulvane Madness." Wood said he enjoyed learning how computers games are created.

"I learned how games are made," Wood said. "I had no idea before. I'll probably be making games all the time now."

Another game created was the role playing game "Hades: The search for Eurydice." It was based on the story of the Greek gods Eurydice and Orpheus. The character has to make it through 15 or 20 rooms by talking to other characters and finding their way.

"I wanted to make an RPG game like 'Diablo,'" freshman Kyle Paul said. "That's what I was going for. Hence the name Hades."

The game "Ski Monster's Revenge" is a game very similar to "Doom," which is a first-person shooter game. The game takes place underground and the player shoots green monsters to advance through the game.

Popel said the software allowed the students to create characters and sounds themselves.

"They've implemented some of their own stuff into their own games," Popel said.

Other games were very similar to Nintendo or Atari style games. "Killer Klowns from Outer Space" is a game that plays like the old game "Asteroids," while two others were games where the player was a helicopter or space craft that shot down enemies.

"Catacombs" is a maze game where the player walks through many levels trying to figure out secrets to go through the many rooms.

Popel said he would like to teach the class again next Interterm, if students are wanting to take the class.

"If it attracts attention, I would like to teach it again," Popel said.

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