Imagine yourself walking through a medieval movie set in Hollowood. You’re playing one of Death’s minions. Your mission is to locate a ridiculously named movie star and snuff him out.
In Reaper Co – A Hollowood Adventure, that’s precisely what happens. But, “There’s definitely no anti-Hollywood vibe,” laughs Bachelor of Science in Games Development student Adam Bursill.
Adam, together with his colleagues Philip Johan Aubert, Sebastian Du Toit and Matthew Andrews co-created Reaper Co. Earlier this year, the video game proved a hit with both industry judges and students, winning Best Game (Game Design Studio 1) and the People’s Choice Award at the 2018 UTS Student Games Showcase.
“We were one of two 3D games in the class and ours had quite a wacky sense of humour,” Adam says of Reaper Co’s reception.
“There were a lot of different mechanics that worked together,” he adds. Like a mix of platform jumping, puzzle-solving and bantering with non-playable characters. Plus, a rewind feature that saves the day if you bite the bullet on a dodgy jump.
“It had quite an ambitious scope in the beginning,” Adam continues. In fact, the medieval movie set was originally one of three differently themed environments connected by a hub world. But, “We pared that down to one level with a boss fight at the end.” The boss creature – a game’s major enemy to beat – is a corrupted soul released by the actor’s death.
This streamlining was for a good reason: applying two years’ of knowledge, the team had to build the game in just eight weeks.
“We tried to be as crazy as possible with our brainstorming. Often our meetings descended into anarchy for a good hour, and we had to pare back and get some work done!” smiles Adam.
It’s all been for a good cause. Thanks to the showcase, Adam and the team were invited to present Reaper Co at an event by online game developer and publisher Wargaming. It led to internship opportunities and plans to further develop (and release) their game.
Unlike other games development courses, Adam explains that UTS’s offered more flexibility. “I wanted to go broader into IT programming with a focus in games so I was more employable.”
And, while he was initially worried about making the move from a career in event lighting, Adam was pleasantly surprised to discover you don’t need to be a maths genius to study programing.
“I’ve always loved computers, but assumed that computer science or programming were beyond me. I wasn’t terrible at maths, but I wasn’t great and I had no love for it.
“My passion is in programming, and games development has been the cherry on top.”