E3 Recap with Producer Quentin

Get an inside scoop of what the team did each day from the view of Starcats Producer Quentin! Also read to the end to find out what we are up to next!

 

Day 1: Scott and I flew into LA a day before everyone else so that we could check out the booth and make sure everything was in place. We got into LA on time, and got all of our supplies to the booth, or so we thought. But it wasn’t until we started opening boxes that we realized we had received a shipment of soap instead of the monitor stand that we were expecting to get. So I started to freak a little bit, because there was no way that we could run a successful booth without the bigger monitor that we were expecting to receive.

Day 2: Monday was spent receiving all of the other team members who were due to arrive, getting them their badges, and showing them around the E3 floor. I spent the day walking around the immediate area of the LA Convention Center because we were missing a cable for the monitor (I never found it but we made do). The team went out to dinner, then we got back to the hotel and wanted to do some last minute bug testing of the game to make sure we were good for the next day. We started bug testing at about 10, and the game was broken and unplayable by 11. Thankfully, we received the monitor stand that night so it was one less thing for me to stress about. Over the course of the next 3 hours, the team all piled into one of the hotel rooms and tried to fix as many of the issues as we could. Laughs were had, but mainly because we were all very jet-lagged and packed into a small room.

Day 3: We were told that the entire team had to have their booth set up by 9 am that morning, and the doors to the show floor opened at 11:45. The entire team didn’t need to be there at 9 as we later found out, so we spent a lot of time testing some more. 5 minutes before the doors opened, the computer we were running the game on decided to do a Windows update that we couldn’t stop. So for the rest of the week, we disconnected the computer from the internet so that we didn’t have to worry about any more surprises. Day 3 (Tuesday) was also the day that we were able to meet with the other teams, and that was a great experience as we found out all of the other teams were super nice people. It was actually another school that invited me to take part in the RoosterTeeth interview. (check out our twitter for the link!)

Day 4: This was arguably the most fruitful day. We were approached by the most publishers and industry professionals on Wednesday, and we had the most foot traffic from the general public on Wednesday. By Wednesday, we had changed the team’s time slots to be 1 hour slots instead of 2. We also changed the rotation of team members because I noticed that Tuesday had a lot of exhausted and un-engaged team members by the end of their 2 hour shifts. Other than the high engagement from the public, Wednesday was again pretty straightforward. We ended the day by going to a club that was rented out by the Women in Games Association and meeting some industry contacts we had met that day. The team got to network and all in all we got to relax a little bit.

Day 5: The final day of the conference was the day that we were all anxious for, since that was the day we would find out if we won the conference (spoiler alert: we didn’t). Day 5 (Thursday) was also the day that I woke up and had no voice. Literally, when I tried to talk, no sound would come out. So I took a vow of silence for 3 hours and wrote out all of my requests to everyone. The silence was supposed to be in preparation for an interview ESA told us we would have, but that interview ended up not happening due to “lack of time”. Anyway, the announcement time came around and Phonetica, the game from Ringling College of Art and Design won. The team was pretty disappointed, and the participation certificates didn’t really help them feel any better. But we knew that we had a solid game, and from the reactions, smiles and laughs, we got the confidence we needed. Everyone says that Top 5 games in the country is reward enough, but I knew that I needed something to finally tip me over the edge in terms of faith in the game. And that’s just because i’m horribly pessimistic.

Post-E3: The team is currently in talks to continue development of the game, and which route we want to go down, either PC vs Console release, Publisher vs No Publisher, Large vs Small team, etc etc. But we’re all in the mindset that I think we need to be, and I’m going to chase my dreams for as long as I can.

Get to know our team!

With E3 just around the corner, we want you to get to know the team that will be there! Today we are highlighting our Lead Programmer, Joe Sorgea and Lead Artist, Rhianna Guptill. 

What was the most fun in creating your game?

Joe-  I think the most fun in creating this game was coming into class every day and joking around with my teammates and the other project members while working on the game. It's not the most productive environment but it certainly was less stressful and more relaxed than a professional environment and I'm glad I got to experience that.

Rhianna- I worked on a previous year's capstone with a different professor. It's always really fun getting to know a new team and learning how they operate. Each year I did this I learned so much, and the games I created ended up being so different. We won awards and competitions for both of my capstone games, and its great to see how everyone grows and how happy they are to see their games take off!

What are you hoping people take away from trying out your game at E3?

Joe- I hope that people trying out our game at E3 give us great feedback. We're always looking for outside feedback and we take it very seriously, because if people aren't having fun playing our game, we want to fix that. We've gotten great input from players at GDC and university-sponsored events in the past, and I'm looking forward to what people have to say on the floor at E3. I also want this experience to help build a following for Starcats. We noticed that a lot of people who have played our game have asked when it will be available on Steam, Itch.io, etc and so we want to involve these players in our development process and keep them updated on our progress.

Rhianna-I guess just experience. I've never done something like this before, i don't think any of us have. This is brand new to the entire school, and I'm sure we're all going to leave having learned a lot about the industry and ourselves too.

What was the most rewarding part for you in being apart of creating Starcats?

Joe- I think the most rewarding part of creating Starcats is seeing all of our hard work come together. When you work on small pieces of a large project, there's a lot of things you never see, or you see them out of context. But when you play the game, and you see all the pieces fall into place, it's a really wonderful feeling.

Rhianna- I was the person who created the cats for the game, that was one of my big tasks since I want to be a character concept artist. Its been really rewarding watching them become the face of our game in a way. So many people just see a cat in a space suit and their interest is peaked towards the game.

What was the most challenging aspect of being apart of the creation of this game?

Joe- I think the most challenging part of creating this game is leading the programming team. I know a lot about programming, but not so much about leading! Usually things go smoothly, but there are so many moving parts, especially considering we have to work with every other team and communicate properly to get things done on time. It's something I haven't fully adjusted to yet, but our producer, Quentin, keeps all of us on track and sets a good example.

Rhianna- As the art lead its always challenging to have so many artists with so many different styles to get together and create a game with a cohesive style. It was a bit rough on everyone for a while, we had to scrap and redo a lot of the art before it reached the final version it is in the game right now.

Which character do you like the most? 

Joe-I like RealCat™ the most, because the idea that someone out there manufactured a cat robot and that robot still needs a helmet and suit to fit in with the other cats is rather silly. Fido, the fish bowl cat, is a close second.

RealCatTM-Cutout.png

 

Rhianna- My favorite is Patches. The one with the eye patch. He was the first character I made when we were still joking around with the idea of having space pirates for characters, and he just kinda stuck.

Patches-Cutout.png

Come meet Joe and Rhianna with the rest of the team at E3 in South Hall booth 2823. 

Refining Controls - Dev Blog #9

We have the technology

I was tasked with making sure both joysticks could be used for movement and for controlling the mini-game.  The movement axes had already been set up to allow both joysticks, and players already had movement disabled while playing the mini-game, so I changed the mini-game from using a specific joystick to using the movement axes.  This also allowed for keyboard control of the mini-game, making it slightly easier for developing.  Due to the way the mini-game used the axes, however, the y-axis was inverted, making the mini-game slightly more challenging.  Joe later un-inverted the y-axis for the mini-game.

I also set the shield orb to turn invisible when the players get on the ship, and to turn visible again when the players get off the ship, provided they have the shield power-up.