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  • Student Postmortem: Carnegie Mellon's Beowulf's Barroom Brawl

    [12.19.06]
    - James Portnow
  •  Introduction

    With the release of the Wii and the growing interest in unusual input devices I thought it might be an appropriate time to write about Beowulf's Barroom Brawl. Beowulf's Barroom Brawl is a first person fighting game based on the idea of kinetic freedom. Think Punchout with motion trackers. It was designed and developed by a team of four over two weeks (yes, two weeks). The game was built in Panda3d with the models being made in Maya, the textures being done in Photoshop and the sound being crafted in Audition and Fruity Loops.

    Before we begin in earnest, I should explain a little about what we do in the Building Virtual Worlds class at the Entertainment Technology Center of Carnegie Mellon. Every two weeks we are assigned to make a new game on a new platform with a new team. The teams are chosen randomly from a pool of modelers, texture artists, sound people and programmers. Once we have a team we are given a series of constraints which can be as vague as "tell a story" or as specific as "the game must include one character which is afraid of another."

    This week's constraints were "build a game for a naïve user... give them the illusion of freedom." Clearly this was an assignment about indirect control. "No problem," we thought, then we were handed four motion trackers and a projection screen.

     

    This Postmortem will attempt to describe the trials and tribulations of working on an unusual platform as well as the wonders of being freed from standard controls. We'll also touch on some of the risks and difficulties associated with rapid prototyping and short cycle game construction over the course of this article.

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