WolverineSoft Studio – Project Cloud

Amber Renton, College of Engineering

Games are, inherently, interdisciplinary. The best games out there are not known for only one of their technical implementation, aesthetic, or music score, but an amalgamation of all those things and more. Thus, Project Cloud – WolverineSoft Studios project this semester – must optimize for all of those areas. Art, in particular, has a huge impact on a person’s first impression of a student game. Artists must work together with programmers, designers, and musicians to make sure that their art is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also is compatible with the game engine, acts as an affordance to the player of game mechanics, is consistent with other artist’s work, and makes sense narratively. For our students, this matters a great deal when resumes are reviewed.

Our first phase is pre-production (essentially, this is planning and onboarding for newer members). Then, we will move to our MVP (minimal viable product), alpha (feature-complete) and beta (content-complete) stages. Then, it is bug fixing, and we will be finished at our “gold” stage. This is when we will be showcasing our game at IGDA at the EECS 494 showcase. Other than EECS 494, the University of Michigan has essentially no other formal game development opportunities. Even then, 494 is locked to CS students who have completed EECS 281. WolverineSoft Studio is our student solution to that, and because we are recognized as an MDP, prospective game developers of all disciplines are able to earn credit for pursuing game development. It suffices to say that we are making a substantial impact on Michigan’s game development scene – particularly for U-M. Games have gotten more and more complicated over the past few years. In addition, we as a studio have tried to become more and more ambitious with every new project by pushing ourselves to the limit. In order to do so, however, we’ve started to rely on purchasing and using external tools that aid our development. For example, during the previous summer semester, we used a Unity package called “Behavior Designer – Behavior Trees for Everyone” for our game Desolation Place. This allowed our designers to rapidly learn, develop, and test advanced AI behaviors all within our limited time frame. We also intend within the next few days a 3D Asset Pack to propel the experience of our art department.