CCAD student creates wizard video game in 3 days
It can take years to create video games.
But CCAD student Courtney Millman (Animation, 2020) recently helped create a game in just three days as part of a game jam. The game, called Wizard Mealee, is an online multiplayer action game where players battle each other to become the last wizard standing. Millman recently talked about her experience creating the game.
Tell us about the game.
Wizard Mealee is an online multiplayer action game where you battle your friends to become the last wizard standing on a mighty tower above the clouds. Anyone can download it, but it takes at least two players to get the game working (through a Steam account).
Team programmer Ørjan accidentally left the game on during a break, causing food to spawn endlessly. Image courtesy of Courtney Millman.
How did the game jam work?
Game jams are open to all. In this particular game jam, we had three days to create a game based around the theme of “buffet.” We then teamed up with other people with different skillsets—from programmer to sound designer—and got to work.
What was your role on the team?
I was a 3D modeling and surfacing artist! It was all about creating cohesive assets, and creating them fast. I did about ⅓ of the modeling and ⅔ of texturing. I worked on a lot of smaller assets as my skills lie in quick production.
Who did you work with on the game?
I worked with an incredible team of people from across the globe:
Ørjan was our project lead. He was capable in every department, from animating to programming to sound design. He’s a teacher in Norway who co-owns a game studio with the next team member I’ll mention.
Megan was our art lead. She was incredible with keeping every asset cohesive and giving great constructive critiques along the way. She also lives in Norway.
Maeve was our concept artist. She works professionally for Hi-Rez Studios, an AAA game studio, and she made every bit of 2D artwork, as well as a few designs implemented into the game.
Kai was a fellow 3D modeler. He’s from Germany and worked quickly on the 3D modeling side.
I met them all through Twitter. My friend and CCAD grad Jacinta Vu (Animation, 2018) always told me that Twitter was the place to really meet people, not only to network, but to create long lasting friendships. This advice has helped me in countless ways, as a lot of Twitter mutuals of mine created a Discord group together. And I’ve made some brilliant friendships that mean the world to me! I’m the youngest and least experienced in the group, so the fact they wanted me on the team was such an honor, and I was always treated as an equal gamedev!
The first asset Courtney Millman modeled and textured for Wizard Mealee. Image courtesy of Courtney Millman.
How did you come up with the concept for the game?
We wanted to create an online multiplayer as more than half my team lives in Europe, so no matter what we can play together! Also, who doesn’t love magical fun?
The last bit was adding the game jam theme of “buffet.” We brainstormed, and Maeve drew a concept of a cute, round wizard. Soon, we had the idea of stuffing your wizard face and shooting your friends off the battlefield!
Mood board made by concept artist Maeve. Image courtesy of Courtney Millman.
What programs did you use?
I used Maya 2018, Substance Painter 2018, and Unreal Engine 4.2. I know Maeve used PhotoShop for her 2D concepts, and some textures were touched up in PhotoShop, too.
I found low poly modeling really relaxing, and before the game jam, Jacinta Vu helped me a lot with tips and tricks..
What are some of your favorite games to play?
I grew up playing anything Nintendo! The Legend of Zelda series (especially Ocarina of Time) has inspired me in my artmaking. I also love some cult classics such as Dark Cloud and Psychonauts!
What are some unexpected challenges you experienced in making the game?
It was very interesting to figure out the scope of the game and what was truly manageable in three days. The biggest hiccup we faced was having to cut assets because of the time constraints.
What was your favorite part about making the game?
My favorite part had to be when I got to watch everything come together in the game. Watching just a hotdog or a bridge become a part of something bigger was so rewarding!
Do you want to go into video gaming as a profession?
I am very invested in the video game industry as a profession, as it’s got such a life and community. There are so many different styles and types of companies. I’ve always loved video games but I never truly realized I could create them until indie games started to take off. For me, I would love to do 3D character modeling, but I’m still looking into other routes such as 3D modeling, 3D surfacing, VFX, and production!