Student Post: Project Dugong – From Experiment to Serious Ambition

“What started as a group of students completely overestimating their skills at a GameJam is now a very ambitious team, eager to make their own fully developed video games.” – Martin Smith, Team Nigel’s Unity Developer.

Team Nigel is the mind child of four University of Lincoln Games Computing/Production students, after they worked together as a team throughout the ULCS Game Jam 2012 in late March earlier this year. Given 24 hours to make a game, they cobbled together Sheer Bloody Madness, which they describe as a “crazy Viking out for revenge in a mindless hack and slash adventure”. It won an honourable mention by the judges, which were made out of developers and academics from Crytek, RockStar, LiSC, ULCS and the LSoCS. Later, the game became the source of inspiration for Team Nigel’s current work, which has been codenamed Dugong.

Dugong is the current on-going project that Team Nigel came up with to introduce themselves into the world of video-games development. Since the ULCS GameJam 2012, they have made great progress and learned much about various aspects of making fun and entertaining video-games in a team-oriented environment. They describe their current game as following: You play a character (Called “You”) in ancient times whose village gets destroyed by evil forces. This incites You to go on a violent and revengeful rampage. The player controls the game character using typical third person views through a story-heavy hack & slash background.

When it comes to the design of the game, Team Nigel’s general approach is to throw anything at the project, as long as it’s considered as fun. Although the game relies heavily on a Viking background, they decided not to keep themselves bound to the typical Norsemen lore, but to let their imagination go out of control. Furthermore, magic plays a big part of the game, mastering the four elements is key to getting to the end areas. A currency dubbed “Wonga” is used to buy equipment, consumables or to play mini-games to earn more fame.

“We love open worlds, so our game will have exactly that”, says Martin, “We want to throw the player into a land that is full of stuff that lives and works without any player interaction, so they can explore them. Rewards, in form of additional items and insightful lore are given to explorers,  which can be used on their quest to go on. We’re using a very simplistic blocky graphical style for our game. We felt it’s much easier to work with blocks and pixels than it is to create full 3D characters and environments, although we are still debating on the overall style of the game as working with blocks isn’t always easy, especially when it comes to adding details!”

You can follow their progress at which they update regularly.