When a professor of mine first mentioned the concept of golf players running around trying to beat each other to death, I thought of it as nothing than a silly joke. Sure, it would be hilarious, but who would actually play it? As time went by and I gave it a bit more thought, I began to think that it might actually make for an interesting design challenge? Taking two completely different genres and meshing them in a way that leads to an entirely new experience would be a great learning opportunity as a designer, as well as quite the portfolio piece.
The current dilemma the project is facing is what to build it with. While doing it from scratch with OpenGL or DirectX would be fantastic accomplishments, they are more pipe dreams than anything. After of looking around, I’ve found what I think are 3 solid choices to pick between; XNA, Unity, and UDK.
XNA is something all RIT game design majors are familiar with, so finding programmers wouldn’t be much of a problem. We have lots of experience, lots of potential manpower, and lots of resources to seek for assistance. However, with students already building submissions for contests like ImagineCup and Global Game Jam in XNA, we end up having nothing but XNA projects on our portfolios. Building cool projects in XNA is by no means a problem, but I wouldn’t want anyone to think that it is the only thing we know how to work in.
Next up on the list is Unity. My personal experiences with Unity have shown it to be a powerful and versatile development tool for both 2D and 3D games, and I know a few students who worked on a basic first person shooter in Unity that turned rather well. With the addition of the asset store, it would be possible to build the game with a smaller art team and still end up with a visually impressive. The obstacle with this route is manning the team with programmers. While there are plenty of students that are familiar with Unity, XNA is much more popular. Gathering and maintaining a strong team that I could convince to work in Unity would prove difficult.
The third candidate is UDK. The Unreal Development Kit is an incredible development tool completely free to use for anyone and everyone. Many stunning titles have been built using UDK, from indie gems to AAA blockbusters. A well made project in UDK would be sure to catch the attention of more than a few people. However, very few students have any experience with UDK, so we would be trying to build a rather ambitious game with zero experience in the tool we are using. While it would be quite the learning experience, it definitely wouldn’t be easy.
Whatever we decide on using for 18 Holes in the Head, I’m excited about getting started on it, and determined to see it through to the end… for better or for worse.