Redmond Proficiency Academy’s very own game development team known as the Catornauts, recently went to the Oregon Game Project Challenge competition and left with an award for the best Art and Assets. The Catornauts team, consisting of Matthew Steele(author of this article), Azriel Fall, Sage Walden, Beauden Yetter, and Justin Greenstone, spent about 7 months developing a game to take to this competition, and it seems like all that work really did pay off.
So for starters, what is Oregon Game Project Challenge, or OGPC, anyway? OGPC is a state wide game development competition for students in grades 6th through 12th, participants are given a theme and around 7 to 8 months to develop a game to present to the judges. After receiving the theme, this year being “Space Race”, students pair up into groups and form their own teams, within each team people can have different roles. One student may program while another makes art assets, while another student might run a website and keep social media up to date. This competition focuses on getting students into the world of game development early on and get them interested, along with showing student that there is more to game development than just programming and art.
So how did these students within the Catornauts team make their game? “Well our original idea was going to be a Turn based RPG (Role playing Game).” Azriel Fall, lead artist, explains. “But we soon came to realize that the style in which OGPC was held, no one would be able to fully experience a story based game.” Soon the team’s plan changed from a story based game, to a short multiplayer series of minigames. “We ended up developing a two-player space race. The premise was that you had to build your ship, fly it into space, defend your satellite, then land on the moon, first to land on the moon won.” says Azriel. Taking inspiration from games such as Mario Party and WarioWare, the Catornauts team started development on C.A.T Space Program. “The idea was that anyone could come up and play it, then they could bring over their friends and challenge them to our game.” Sage Walden, Social Media and Website Manager, says. “We wanted to make it hard enough that it takes some level of skill, but isn’t so hard it alienates non-gamers. And we did see a lot of people bring over their friends and challenge each other to the game, which was great because that was our hope for the game.”
After the months of hard work and struggle, the Catornauts team finally went to the Oregon Game Project Challenge. “It was a very fun and open environment, everybody was running from game to game seeing what each team did different with this year’s theme.” says Justin Greenstone, team musician. “Luckily we didn’t have judging till later in the event, giving us time to fix any bugs that might have popped up.” The Catornauts team ended up walking away with Best in Show for Art and Assets. “Though we won in Art and Assets that doesn’t mean the rest of the game was worthless, it just means that we had a good working game that had its own fun and unique style.” Justin explains.