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  • Developing Wings of Apocalypse

    [09.08.09]
    - Roger Hicks
  •  The development of Wings of Apocalypse (trailer here) was carried out by a team of two Virginia Commonwealth University students and a Florida Atlantic University student. The team consisted of Naomi Baker, illustrator and concept artist from VCU; Brian Terwilliger, 3D artist and animator from FAU; and myself, Roger Hicks, programmer and music composer from VCU.

    Naomi and I were acquainted through the social networking website, MySpace, while Brian, on the other hand, connected with me through the GameTrailers.com user forums. Little did I know, the three of us would soon become close friends and learn some valuable lessons during the development Wings of Apocalypse.

    In December of 2007, Naomi and I decided that we were going to develope a game together. We didn't know where or how to start developing it. We only knew that we wanted to make it happen. The two of us started not far from ameteur developers -- like many who plan big only to find out that it's more work than they thought. Unlike some other ameteur developers, we were stubborn enough to stick with it. Before we knew it the project was branded Wings of Apocalypse. Naomi and I, along with two others, began meeting every Friday to develop our ideas and concepts.

    It didn't take long before the development team grew to eight members. But, as the project became more involved the team members quickly dwendled to only a faithful few. By February 2008 Naomi Baker, Brian Terwilliger, and I were the only surviving memebers. Despite the drop in members, we were still determined to continue the development of Wings of Apocalypse. With some hard work and determination we were able to get a playable build working in time for the 2009 Independent Game Festival.

    Distance

    The WoA development team started in Virginia but, after the addition of Brian, from Florida, and Naomi's relocation to California, we found ourselves thousands of miles apart and less obligated to continue development. We'd often let other engagements halt and effectively threaten to kill the project indefinitely. At the time Naomi was in the process of doing some work for Dark Horse Comics while Brian and I were bogged down with school projects. I realized that we needed to make some changes if this project was to continue development.

    The first remedy to the problem, per Naomi's suggestion, was to start a blog. The blog was not only a way for others to follow the project but, more importantly, it gave us a way to follow what we were working on individualy. Soon after following Naomi's lead, we all became more dedicated to the project and enjoyed surprising each other after displaying our latest creations on the blog.

    Setting deadlines also contributed greatly to keeping the project afloat. Our desire to meet the IGF 2009 entry deadline gave us the extra push we needed to continue development despite our other obligations.

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