By William Koschnick -student
The Nerd Herd at Oracle Charter High School in Buffalo, NY, is a group of tech savvy students who spend their after school time and summers helping the Oracle tech department set up computers, tablets and droids, and helping teachers with computer issues. Sometimes we have interesting conversations. One of them happened to be what we should do when we run out of thing to do. Which lead to a group discussion and decision to make a video game.
Making a game is not easy, it actually takes a lot of work. For one, a story is needed, and the story needs to be interesting to keep the viewer invested in it. Knowledge of scripting is needed, scripting is commands used in computers to tell something what the script wants it to do. Scripting is used to set a certain action to each button like jumping, running, picking things up, etc. Finally a good engine is needed to make the game on, such as unity3D, unreal engine, or cryENGINE (r). Once all these elements are collected, a game can be made. (Some of these aspects can cost a lot of money, though.)
Right now, we are learning how to make a game in our free time. We have everyone in the tech office working on a certain part of the game. I’m doing the story, Haven is working on making the game with Luis, and Eli and Hunter are doing the music. To make the game we are using a free engine called unity3D. This makes backgrounds and buildings so the characters have somewhere to walk and things to interact with. To make the characters we are using a program known as autodesk maya. It helps create the characters to put into unity3D and test the game. This may seem like it’s going to be lot of work for a small group of students knowing only what we do about games. It’s actually not. But most of the best sellers on systems and smart phones are made through independent people like us.
A popular game for example, Temple Run, was made by independent people. These are called indie games and only come out in the markets of a system like the playstation store or android play store. The ones on the console stores can spawn franchises whereas the ones on the Android can have a sequel or just stand alone as itself.
We don’t have all the details of what we want our game to be about but we do have a little bit of a story, characters, and a setting. The story is about Earth after centuries of war. Cities are made on top of giant trees to keep away from the irradiated world below. A small family consisting of a boy, a girl, and their father lives in one of these many tree cities. One day the father leaves the city without a warning of him leaving. The boy has to start taking care of his little sister Lucy. After a few years of doing odd jobs he enrolls in the mercenary police force, from there his story unfolds. Its not much but it’s what we have so far. I think, being the story writer, the game will be a little bit of an apocalyptic game with a little bit of exploring.
If you want to make a game the best thing to do is get a small team who can each do at least something needed to make a game. Use the free software that is available for your first project. Use the hardware and systems you already have access to; we are using Android because that’s what we have through Oracle Charter High School. Make the kind of game you like to play. Your first game does not have to cost much, just a good idea and your time. If your game becomes popular go from there and go big!