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  • Inside the IGF 2009: Sneak Peek at Virus Effect

    [01.09.09]
    - GameCareerGuide.com staff
  •  A few students from Houston, and a U.S. Marine stationed in Japan, worked together to create a 2D platform RPG shooter called Virus Effect, which they recently submitted to the 2009 IGF.

    In this exclusive series, GameCareerGuide is speaking with some of these developers, including Oscar Gomez lead programmer on Virus Effect's team, who are vying to be named among the best of the IGF Student Competition.

    Game title:
    Virus Effect

    School: University of Houston

    Description: Virus Effect is a 2D platform RPG shooter. In this browser-based game you start out with a handgun battling "viruses" in a virtual world set up by the government. Levels are played in an episodic style allowing players to replay any level they want. In between episodes you can stop by the city shops to heal, buy weapons, and upgrade your gun's stats.

    GameCareerGuide: Tell us how Virus Effect came to be.

    Oscar Gomez: Virus Effect began back in May 2008. It started out as a simple platformer with a grenade launcher as a test weapon. It quickly shifted over to having all kinds of firearms from shotguns to flamethrowers. After trying to get my friends to play, I realized everyone was turned off by the graphics and didn't even give the game play a chance. So I started my search for an artist and found Diana Liao.

    An early prototype of Virus Effect shows rudimentary placeholder art.

    She is a pixel artist with a lot of talent and was starting to hone her skills when she joined. While still attending school, she started pumping out pixel art faster than I could implement it.

    Later on I met Semir Mehmedovic during development. The game design ideas he and I came up with ramped up Virus Effect to its current state.

    As we progressed we saw that we needed backgrounds, so I went on another hunt and turned up another talented pixel artist, Ryan DeGange. He is a U.S. Marine currently stationed in Japan. His expertise wrapped up the game, and we have all been developing as much content as we can ever since.

    GCG: What was your goal in developing the game?

    OG: I originally had two goals for the game: one was to have something in my portfolio to present to potential employers, and the other was to learn different aspects of game programming and design. The knowledge gained from creating a game from scratch is priceless. Our current goal is to create as much content as we can for the game.

    GCG: Virus Effect is a 2D platformer. What sets it apart from other games in the IGF? What makes it special?

    OG:
    Virus Effect is a 2D platformer, a shooter with 360 mouse aiming, and contains RPG elements. The aspect that set it apart from other games is its casual episodic design. This game is playable in short spurts or in a six-hour power way like some of our current players.

    Once players sign up, all their stats and weapons are saved automatically, so they can come back whenever they like to blast enemies away, Rambo-style. In the city, you can purchase weapons and upgrade them along with healing your player. To store weapons you just drop them in the teleport room. This makes switching guns between episodes easily accessible.

    GCG: What was the most difficult part of developing the game? I noticed that you wrote all the code from scratch on the Java SDK.

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