Description:

As the legendary OWL (Owl With Lasers), it falls to you to defend the moon trees from the attacking force of real estate agents!


Use the mouse to aim and left click to fire.  Right click cycles between tactical perch positions.

Dev Notes:

While small in scope and simple in functionality, this game is important because it was the first time I worked with my senior project group as a full team.  The six of us programmers had been friends and partners many times before, but this was a chance to mesh with the art team and become familiar with their interests and skills.  We held a game jam, fourteen hours straight of concepting, designing, and creating, and when the time was up, the game was "finished", no matter its actual condition.

We started brainstorming with a set of word webs, which quickly descended into sheer and utter madness.  I actually became a little wary of the "lol random" attitude adopted by many of the artists, but for a small one-off project like this, I decided to just see where it went.  So we ended up with a laser-owl fighting real estate agents on the moon.

About half of the coders had worked in Unity before, so we adopted a pair-programming strategy to help guide those who hadn't.  I worked on the GameController and PlayerController scripts; neither involved anything particularly exciting or difficult, but again, the goal of the day was to have something tangible (and playable) by the end of it.  In fact, the challenge came from the "working together" aspect.  We didn't want to spend time setting up version control, so files were passed back and forth on USB keys, then got merged together in one master scene.  This worked well-enough for the code, since each behavior script was fairly self-contained, but we started to have problems when it came time to replace our programmer art with the real assets.  Most notably, there was a nasty scaling bug that resulted in many objects' colliders being blown up to dozens of times their correct size, causing very incorrect behavior and costing us lots of time searching for the problem in a different place.

As we debugged, and as our deadline crept closer, many of the artists were getting antsy.  Just as we hadn't known what to expect from them, they didn't realize what truly went into making a game functional, and were disappointed that we couldn't work any faster.  A few of the planned features had to be cut so we could clean up and make the build on time.

Overall, I feel that the experience could have been better.  There will always be growing pains at the beginning of a new project with a new team, but I could have told you that a long grind on a tight deadline would not produce my best work.  I much prefer to schedule out my time and work ahead if possible, to ensure that what needs to get done does, and that it lives up to my high standards.  A game jam does not offer the right format to demonstrate this.  Nevertheless, it's true that both teams learned a great deal about each other, which was the primary goal of the exercise.

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