Fourty Hours; Ten Weeks

Posted on December 14th, 2011
by high school interns Justin and Jonathan


This is the intern duo Justin and Jonathan here for one last blog post. As you may or may not remember or know, we are seniors hailing from your friendly neighborhood UCLA Community Schools, built upon what used to be the Ambassador Hotel in Koreatown, Los Angeles. We are here for a recap of everything we’ve done in this internship at the UCLA Game Lab. It’s been 10 weeks already, yet we’ve only been at the Game Lab for 40 hours, give or take. Over the course of this time we have learned several aspects about game design. We’d like to take this opportunity to share our experience as a whole in the time we have been here with the rest of you.

We remember the first time we came to the Game Lab — one of the first few things we did that day was navigating the interface of game-making engine ‘Unity’. At first, we were just merely experimenting with the assets of the program, and it wasn’t until later that we came to better understand its various complexities. After learning the ropes of Unity, our new-found knowledge led us to being able to modify simple, prototype games. In our learning process, we attended the Unity/Game Maker workshops (hosted by Peter Lu and Mark Essen respectively), covering topics we didn’t go over before. Other than learning how to create real games from the design engines, we play-tested Peter Lu’s ‘Burn & Turn’ and Mark Essen’s ‘Dog Fights’. Congratulations to Peter Lu for the release of the game in addition to the many positive reviews it received! Both Jonathan and I are planning on buying the ‘Burn & Turn’ from the App Store and the Android Market to promote it. ‘Dog Fights’ is still in the beta phase, and whether it will be released sooner or later is out of our knowledge.

“What’s up Jonathan?!,” Justin says as he chases Jonathan and snipes him from behind with a flurry of pixelated missiles. The blocks of letters that read ‘REPAIR’ hover over Jonathan’s purple digital plane as it descends to the black abyss below. He frantically types ‘REPAIR’ as an attempt to recover from the shot, but is dumbfounded by the lonesome floating ‘R’ still clutching its vile talons onto the smoking aircraft. He panics as he is hellbent on recovery, mashing the ‘R’ button to no end. But even that proves to be futile as his plane finally crashes to the cold ground, the last ‘R’ nailing the coffin shut once and for all.

“Wow” is all he manages to say as he awaits his next respawn period. “I could have sworn I hit ‘R’ a million times there.”

Not only have we tested two games in their beta phase, but we also tried out games from Pirate Kart, a large package of games made in 48 hours by many game developers. A grand majority of the games were flat out random, such as ‘Pac-Man Without A Purpose,’ while some were fun, like ‘Metal Spawn,’ complete with decent graphics and smooth gameplay. As a rule of the thumb, we also had to learn a bit about Photoshop to see how exactly the graphics and user interfaces are integrated into these games. While using Photoshop, we also developed art assets for our own prototype games. Justin used photoshop to make game pieces for his mixture of Stoplight and Telephone. Meanwhile Jonthan used photoshop to develop concept art for his sword-fighting game. Even with all of these¬†activities, we of course reflected these experiences and processes through blog posts.¬†We always have something to write about on a week to week basis, whether it is a review for any of the games we’ve been testing, or even about obstacles we ran into and overcame while using Unity. It is through these blog posts that allows us to voice our input and learn from our mistakes, whether they are minor or major.

Again, it’s been 10 weeks which sadly went by faster than we expected them to. We’d like to give a thank you to all the members of the Game Lab for having us; you guys have been awesome. We’d also like to give special thanks to David Elliot, our mentor and supervisor in the internship; Peter Lu, for assisting us with our problems and allowing us to test his now-released game; and Mark Essen, for generously taking time out of his class for an interview and also allowing us to test his game that is currently still in development. We wish to come back to the Game Lab in the near future and hopefully, one day be full-fledged members.