Tad Studbody

Developed by Team Inifinigon as a Junior level game project. The team was a multi-disciplinary team featuring programmers and artists, and had a total of fourteen people work on it over the course of three semesters. I was the designer, game play programmer, did a small amount of tools development and MEL scripting, and worked on the AI.

Code Samples:

Tad Studbody is a 3D, side-scrolling brawler where you control a super powered mullet headed baffoon. Robots are terrorizing the city and Tad must stop them.

This was a long, difficult project. Over scoped from the get go, we never managed to get the scope reined in. We had a lot of hiccups with the team and some major technical set backs, but ultimately suffered most from not getting game play up and running fast enough to iterate on the design until it was fun to play.

While working on the game I ended up working closely with John Hall, our environment artist. After a grueling over night session trying to build a level by hand for a milestone presentation he suggested we come up with a better way of building our levels. During our brainstorming he suggested writing MEL scripts that would allow him to build the levels in Maya and then export the levels into a Lua script that could be run in game.

I investigated the MEL script route and was quickly sold. In an eight hour period one Saturday I wrote the first version of the MEL script that we would use for level building until the end of the semester. It worked by finding nodes John had named certain ways in the scene and writing out Lua that would create the entities as he had them placed, oriented, and scaled. Working on the MEL script I realized how much I loved developing ways for the team's productivity to be improved. I would sadly get little time to develop much else to save us time on this project.

While I feel the game didn't turn out as good as I hoped, this twelve month project is the longest and most difficult I've ever taken part in and the experience was invaluable. I learned more in the failures of Tad Studbody than in the successes of all my other projects. Tad Studbody, due to the complexity of the model, rig, and animations that the artists created, has become the defacto standard at DigiPen for testing FBX mesh loading and animation.