In a series of exclusive articles, GameCareerGuide has been looking behind the curtain of this year's Independent Games Festival by speaking to a number of developers who have submitted games to the festival's Student Competition.
In this installment, students at Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center discuss their game, Trino, an action puzzle game involving aliens.
School: Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University
Description:Trino is an action puzzle game in which an alien must escape an insidious cyborg swarm. Use Trino's powerful triangle trap to defeat the Nanites and break free from their laser prison! Evade, outsmart, and destroy seven types of deadly enemies! Collect power-ups to evolve and destroy the laser walls!
GameCareerGuide: Tell us how your game came to be.
Stephanus Indra: Originally, Linhan Li [technical artist and effects artist], Young Yang, [programmer], and I pitched a project to create Xbox Live Arcade game during the spring 2008 semester at Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University. Shortly after pitching, three other members Soo Jeong Bae [sound and music designer and producer], Nick Lee [artist], and Ivan Ortega [artist], joined the team.
In the beginning of the semester, we were not clear about which direction to take. Nevertheless, we wanted to make a game that was simple and easy to pick up and play. Upon that agreement, we bounced ideas back and forth between team members and kept iterating until the game became Trino as most people know it today.
The team will have another development semester to create a richer Trino experience.
GCG: What was your goal in developing the game? I noticed on your web site, there is a reference to the team being in residence at EA in southern California. Can you talk about that a little bit?
SI: Our goal was to make something new and that had never been done before at the ETC. More specifically, we wanted to make a game prototype for Xbox Live Arcade that was ready to be submitted to Microsoft by the end of the semester -- 14 weeks. Even though the project was in the academic setting, we did not intend to make a game just for the sake of the project, but also something that people would remember.
We were working out of EA Redwood Shores in northern California. This was made possible due to the strong relationship between the ETC and EA developed by [the late] Randy Pausch (ETC co-founder) and Steve Seabolt (head of Sims Worldwide Product Marketing). Basically, ETC students were allowed to use EA cubes and facilities for project coursework. The team took this opportunity to build a game at a game company and are incredibly thankful to everyone at EA.
GCG: Explain a little bit more about working at EA Redwood Shores. How long were you there? Were you able to consult with the employees for advice and help? What was the experience like? What restrictions did you have?