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  • Student Postmortem: University of Abertay Dundee's Blok Wars

    [06.14.07]
    - Eddie Long
  •  Blok Wars is a Lego-based RTS game developed by a group of six students over six months at the University of Abertay, Dundee in Scotland. The game was created for the Game Design and Development module as part of the Masters in Computer Game Technology course at Abertay. The basic flow of the course is that each student in the module comes up with their own game idea and a corresponding design document. After this stage, the class is divided into several development teams and each team chooses the best concept out of all the team members' ideas to develop.

    The aim of the course in general is to give students experience working in a group project and come up with a prototype of approximately 5-10 minutes of gameplay. Any existing or new engine is allowed to be used for the game's development and this year each team consisted of approximately six students. We chose to use Ogre3D as our game engine due it being free, availability of plugins and the large community of support. The team, Garbanzo Moose, was made up of Eddie Long, Paul Doherty, Niall Cusack, Richard Jaquish, Steven Courtney and Sourabh Pradhan.

    Blok Wars tells the story of two warring Blok armies fighting for the dominance in a regular household setting. The main reasons this game concept was chosen was for the setting, the fact that a Lego-style RTS hasn't really been done before, the idea of being able to recollect and reuse the Blok pieces once a unit/building is destroyed and the possibility of player customization of unit and building in an external editor with Blok pieces which are very like Lego pieces.

    The background story tells of how a new evil Blok army forced the existing army out of the house and now the old guard must fight their way back up to the bedroom and reclaim their rightful place defeating anything that stands in their way. The original design concept had three main levels, the kitchen, the sitting room and the bedroom but this was scaled back to a single level, the kitchen, for this prototype. The kitchen level has two enemy bases and five resource locations. Depending on which army is in control of a resource point they receive a certain amount of body, vehicle or building pieces per second which can then be used to construct new units and buildings.

    This postmortem tells of what went right, what could have gone better, and what has been learned for future projects.

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