At my old school called “Grafisch Lyceum Rotterdam”; they organize every year a competition for all the second years of Media technology. We had to make a game or website in 60 hours as a group and we slept on school. We had to present the project to the judges at the end of our working hours.

Our group was made out of six people. At first no one agreed on what kind of game we wanted to make. One part of the group wanted to do something quite common, the other part wanted to create a point and click game and I wanted something impressive. The thing is, we had to make an impression on our judges. So, at some point I said: “Okay, a Skyrim-like game would be too ambitious… But with a point and click game it will be very hard to really show why it must be fun compared to the rest of the projects… You know what!? Let’s make a point and click game where you have to find quests like in RuneScape but… When you interact with an enemy, you will be teleported to a fighting stage like in Pokémon!” Well… I got a lot of confused faces at that moment, but when I told them what I had in mind for the combat… They were sold for the idea! My idea was to create the combat in first person. It does not have to be complex. Just you and your sword. The only the thing was… Is this too ambitious for a 60-hour project?

Gif of interaction with NPC Gif of Enemy Interaction/Level Switching

So, we planned out this idea and Skypeak was born! I was responsible for the first-person levels and the player controls. When we started on this project, we got a little problem… We had to work on VERY SLOW PCs… So, when I put 5 big rocks in the game, the game already started dropping its own framerate from 40 to 20… So, putting more rocks in the level will really destroy the framerate! This meant that I got another task! Optimizing my own levels. I have not done that before, so it was quite fun to learn something new!

Gif of Combat Gif of a waterfall.

The way I optimized it was by using box colliders as much as possible instead of the provided mesh colliders. I made a lot of use of 2D images for vegetation to give some live to my levels and I used the build in technique called: occlusion culling! This was also my very first time that I used occlusion culling. It was really easy to implement it inside Unity because Unity itself got build-in tools for that. Looking back on this, this is definitely not the best way of culling objects, but for this project it was good enough! In the end, we were able to run the game around 17 to 28 FPS on 720P on those machines. Not the most stable FPS, but enough to demonstrate what we have made. The sacrifice was worth it because levels didn’t look and feel empty. It was packed with enough detail to let the world feel alive.

Gif of Final Level. Gif of Final Boss Fight.

When showing the game, I was one of the two people that presented our game to the public. You can watch that video here on 02:59.02! (This video is fully in Dutch because it was a Dutch event). Out of the 5 teams, we were first place! We won a Raspberry Pi 3 as a reward! There is also a video about that.

This was definitely a fun time! I have learned a lot from this, and I really would like to do this again! I am also thinking about making a remaster of this game with much cleaner code and way more polish! (Ow… And much lesser bugs)!

In 2018, I have worked on another "Make a Thon" game called Syn-Corp. That game got fourth place! You can check out that game here: Link to Syn-Corp.

Picture of my group Picture of my group