North Texas Daily

UNT video game developers balance original game with schoolwork

UNT video game developers balance original game with schoolwork

March 31
08:33 2014

Connor Trinske // Contributing Writer

Students and video game lovers, take note: UNT has its own development team, and you could be a part of it. Two passionate students have been working on an original video game, making significant progress while still maintaining a full-time college workload.

Codenamed “Project: Lester,” the game is the brainchild of computer science sophomores Justin Amick, the game director, and Bryan Goforth, the lead programmer.

The player takes on the role of a morally ambiguous mineworker who breaks into the dark, dusty Catacombs of Paris to steal its limestone reserves. However, his only escape route collapses in an avalanche of stone, and he is trapped in the labyrinthine catacombs with only his headlamp and a mysterious presence hunting him.

The player must survive long enough to escape the catacombs while slowly discovering what the beast is and why it is chasing them. The game falls into the first-person horror genre and currently has a playable build, Amick said.

“There’s a trend of very similar indie horror games and we wanted to break away from it,” Amick said. “[We] have accomplished a lot in just four months, especially with less than four hours a day on average.”

Both Amick and Goforth have a considerable amount of schoolwork arising from their 12 hours of classes each, which is partially why they are looking to assemble other students who are interested in the project.

“We just want a small-sized team of around five or so dedicated people,” Goforth said. “Right now we really need artists, but also a programmer and a 3D modeler would be good.”

Amick said they could also use a full-time writer at some point.

The character mechanics in the game are complete, and Amick and Goforth are currently working on finishing the 3D modeling for the catacombs as well as the monster’s artificial intelligence and design. Those willing to join them should be familiar with the program Unity, a popular development engine for startup video games.

Kyle White, a member of the Game Developers of UNT, has seen the game and its overall concept.

“I like the idea, since it certainly has some original potential,” he said. “I’m impressed by what I have seen, and I hope it challenges what I’m used to from horror games.”

For any others interested in playing the first fully featured video game to come out of UNT, the team is hoping to release it for free or on an independent hosting site as soon as it is complete, and possibly on mainstream distribution services depending on the game’s popularity.

Aspiring video game developers who want the chance to work on Project: Lester can email Amick at tunersymphon@yahoo.com or Goforth at shadowsnake64@yahoo.com. The early version of the game in action can be viewed by attending the Game Developers of UNT meetings at 8 p.m. Tuesday nights in room A204 of the Life Sciences building.

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