Game Development at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Author: mcdo (Page 2 of 5)

Ching Yu Lau, UMBC ’02, and his dragon

Mr. Lau has been working in the Baltimore games industry for several years, has spoken at UMBC many times (usually about how to get a job in the industry), and will be teaching Art 384, “Introduction to 3D Computer Animation” this Fall. He is a ZBrush master.

In addition to working at Zenimax Online for the past few years, he has also worked at Breakaway Games and done some architectural rendering.  He also has a side business making small sculptures in ZBrush that get printed via rapid prototyping. One is shown below; more at

Ching Lau's Dragon

“Social Game” by Milton Bradley

portrait of M. Bradley

M. Bradley

There really was a Milton Bradley, and he received patent #53,561 on April 3, 1866, for a board game, in which one strives to avoid various character flaws and reach “Happy Old Age.”

From the drawing provided in the patent application, you could make a pretty authentic board. Here’s the link.

“Akisakio” iPhone game mid-term

The “Storybook” team (Derek Ragos, Teresa Oswald, Juan Carlos Rivera, and John Cservek) turned in this game for mid-terms.

It’s a side-scroller, and there’s lots of teleporting– the idea is that the levels are pages in a book of many stories. The graphics are very nice, and Teresa, the only programmer, started this semester with no iPhone development knowledge, and got it working before mid-terms, which is just awesome.

Starting place for Akisakio

You start in a forest at night...

Egyptian level

... and go to the Pyramids ...

Please post comments or send email to dragos1 at umbc dot edu

Student Game: “Dr. Voodoo”

“Dr. Voodoo” is a game by Jenn Dahlke and Bryan Eastlack. In it, you play an alternative medicine practitioner who sneaks around in hospitals curing people with spells made from things like ice cubes, bacon, and 8-balls.

Bryan learned Objective-C, XCode, and the iPhone class system this semester, before mid-terms, to make this game. If you ever fail to hire this guy, you’ll die regretting it.

As you can see, the game is really cute:

Dr. Voodoo consults

Dr. Voodoo consults a patient, who needs ice and a bucket.

Dr. Voodoo gets caught

Dr. Voodoo, caught by the man, and the sick suffer on.

Play “Titan Climber” now!

Team Titan Climber (Michael Marcellino, Kevin Kohri, Dale Case, Alexander Pole, and Chris Cromwell) turned this in for mid-terms:

In this game, you play regular guy who has to kill a Titan. Each Titan is a level in the game, and has an elemental theme. It’s kind of like the old “Crazy Climber” game, but with Titanic body lice and swordplay.

Please send feedback to, or in the comments below.

GDC Talk: Achievements Considered Harmful?

Chris Hecker gave this talk; Gamasutra coverage here:

“… because of the idea that, if you do this, you’ll get that, you end up hating the ‘this’ and focusing on the ‘that.'”
And if the “this” is your game, that’s bad.

Go Play Slug Now!

screenshot of slugMid-terms were last week; my capstone game development class is turning the first drafts of their games.

Slug is a game by Eve Addison, Robert Donahue, Stephen Steinbach, Mary Lewis, Nathaniel Wise, and Michael Winch. It’s really cute, in Flash, play it now, play it here:

Sid Meier’s Keynote

The title was “The Psychology of Game Design (Everything You Know Is Wrong)”, which did not get him a sympathetic audience to start with.

The room layout was most imposing: 5000 people in long rows, a 100-foot stage, 3 50-foot screens with one big face on them: EL SIIID. Standard GDC.

The talk, however, was not forceful. It did not reveal mystic, surprising truths. It was a set of anecdotes about different situations he’s been in over the almost 20 years of Civilization titles (and others).

The arc of the anecdotes was usually this: Sid tries some idea. User tester makes more-or-less boneheaded critique. In response, Sid changes the game, maybe discards the idea altogether, and the game is better. Twenty years of that.

So, really, the “You” in the subtitle referred to Mr. Meier himself, and what looked to be a haughty diatribe turned out to be almost an internal monologue on the benefits of humility and careful listening.

The last thing I expected was to be touched. That’s wisdom for you: not what you expect.

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