Game: SkyBlitz: The Revengening

Teammates: Jason Hill (Programmer), Justin Sliekers (Programmer)
Tools: XNA – C#
Project length: 4 Months (Finished 05/08/09)

During my junior year of undergrad at Iowa State University, two of my friends (Jason Hill and Justin Sliekers) and I were enrolled in Software Development Practices. While trying conceptualize a good semester-long project for our 3-man team, we quickly decided we wanted to create a game. Soon after, we came up with the design of SkyBlitz: The Revengening; a 4-player co-op, side-scrolling shoot’em’up (shmup) to be developed using C# and XNA, with the Xbox 360 as our target platform.

During the next 4 months, we learned a great deal about game development, and also how it differentiates from traditional software development. Creating documents such as the development plan, requirements document and testing plan were challenging, as the needs of SkyBlitz were quite different from traditional business applications. Through research and trial-and-error, we were able to figure out which design patterns worked for game development (and which didn’t), learned just how important thorough feature testing was, discovered the many challenges of gameplay balancing, and observed the many woes of having programmers create the art assets.

All in all, the project was a success. We were able to demo the game (on an Xbox 360) to the entire class, with the students themselves playing the game and passing the controllers during the presentation. We received strong feedback from our fellow students, including some requests of where and when they could get our game.