Cryptozoology was a team project in my second year at university. The project brief was to build a third person action adventure game based on the theme of cryptozoology. it was to have components of both shooting and melee combat integrated into it. we were to develop Level 7 of the game, rather than attempt to build an entire game, or start at the beginning. The expectation was that the players would be aware of the basic game mechanics already and would be learning the more advanced features at this stage.

Personally I believe we built level three or four at best, but never mind.

The project was a team exercise primarily, to teach us the difficulties and obstacles inherent to this kind of work. my class (programmers) was divided into four groups, as were the games design students (focused on the artwork and assets side of games development) and we were assigned to work with one another.

Most of the teams ran into difficulties where the artists would either overestimate what their teams could do. as did ours. Our initial games design was excessively ambitous, being about three times more content and complexity than the final game. We barely completed the final game in time for the deadline.

We also ran into problems with personnel. one of our programmers vanished partway through the first few weeks of the project, it was nearly a month before we found out that he'd quit the course completely. this was a major crisis at the time as there were only two programmers left on the team. myself and one other.

Our project manager (one of the lecturers) detached a programmer from a team which had four programmers in it, and told him to work on both teams wherever necessary. but we never actually asked for his help (as a matter of fact, he called on my help once or twice), so he stayed working with the other team for the most part. as it turned out, having the smaller team was a blessing in disguise as we worked much more closely with the artists than the other teams did. our team-dynamic was specifically noted at the end of the project as the best of any team to complete this project. a part of this is due to my own rapport with two of the leading artists on my team. we would meet up independantly of the team when necessary and churn out new content and features for a few hours at a time most weeks. indeed, we later collaborated in a three-man team for the Mundungo project

My Role:

I was the lead programmer, my co-programmer was frequently unable to come to meetings due to home troubles. so I took on the role mostly by process of elimination. my role in programming essentially was anything involving movement of characters. I modified an existing player-controller script from the examples to control the player character, and similarly a camera script.

I also built whole new scripts for the various AI enemies. the Vampire characters are my particular favourite as I sunk a lot of time into them. unfortunately due to the difficulty curve of the game, most players don't ever even see them. never mind.

My co-programmer Ian was responsible for the interface, specific mention going to the main menu, which has some fun features with the camera movements. also all the aiming and shooting mechanics in the game were his work. though we split it for the player's gun. He also built the patrol script seen in the early part of the game with an AI character roaming the upstairs areas. this was mostly due to the brief making specific mention of the mechanic and our realising late in the project that we hadn't built one.

The player's gun was one feature I would revisit and rebuild knowing what I know now about the game. it unfortunately can't control the pitch, and the bullets suffer from bullet-drop. meaning it is very very hard to accurately fire.

I would be quite keen to go back and completely rebuild this game's scripts from scratch if I had a few weeks spare. most of the time-delay in this project was due to unfamiliarity with the engine and some difficulties with acquiring assets from an artist who had gone AWOL ( who was responsible for the Vampires, rather critically)


The Game:

Play Cryptozoology : online playable game

Download link : Windows : Mac