Roach Rush: The Making Of

Roach Rush is a simple, funny motion sensing game. Using Kinect’s motion sensing, the player can stamp the cockroaches on the floor and the wall of  his kitchen while trying not to accidentally hit his own ‘girlfriend’ in 2 minutes.

As the first game I participated in for Building Virtual World (BVW), the development of Roach Rush gave me a lot of experience and enlightenment. The requirement was to build a world that character A (the player) helps character B to defeat his fear of character C. I came up with an idea of letting the player to be a god (character A) who scarifies himself to protect the mortal (character B) from the natural disasters (character C). The rest of the team assumed it as a good story, but soon found out that it would be a great burden to artists since we had only 2 weeks. Therefore we decided to do something else instead. During the discussion, we came into a dilemma: should we make a puzzle game, or a fast-pace one. Considering the length of the final presentation (5 minutes or so), we chased the second one, which might be able to engage the audience in a shorter time.

Then we started to think about the feature of Kinect. After studying what motion the Kinect can detect, we decided to use two of them as our main operation: stamp, and slap (later, after playtesting, we changed slap to hand-waving). I suggested that the best way to use the motion of stamp was to create enemies for players to step on and kill. What are we thinking about when we mentioned “step on something”? Bugs,or, more specifically, cockroaches. So, with my advice, we set up our idea to a killing-cockroach game.

Once we decided the theme, a song just struck my mind suddenly. I immediately decided to use it as our background music. It’s Opera #2 from Vitas, which is hilarious and has a strong sense of level. Indeed, sound design showed its dramatic importance for this round later. Basically, the whole level design of our game was driven by the song. Analyzing the movement of the song, I figured out the song has 4 climax and 1 bridge(after editing). Hence, there should be 4 climax and 1 bridge of the game as well. Accordingly, I designed 4 waves of cockroaches: the first came from the ground, the second came from the wall, the third came from both the wall and ground, and the forth even more with a flashing light. We put a cockroach king spawning baby cockroaches in the bridge as well. The amount of the cockroaches will increase gradually along with the song.

Since our game was a music-driven game, before the first prototype was finished, I had to confirm whether all sounds matched together. I designed a tester in Unity for that, completing most of the game design based on it and my imagination.

Sound Design Tester
Sound Design Tester

Besides, I was chosen to be the producer. Using skills of project management learnt from undergraduate, I was able to manage the project workflow effectively. We held a meeting everyday, discussing about what was done the day and what else left. We used Trello as our project management tool. All above made the development go successfully.

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During this round, I’ve learnt a lot about teamwork and cooperation. I’ve never thought about workload of time limitation for the development of the game before. It used to be solved by our project manager in my internship. Moreover, I realized it is important to understand teammates’ abilities before start working. In our team there were 2 artists, one of whom was pretty good at 3D modelling, while the other was an expert of 2D graphic design. Therefore, whether to make a 2D or 3D game became a problem. At last, we decided to make a 3D game with 2D graphic background (the wall and the ground). Furthermore, after watching every game in the final presentation, I realized our game was not as good as I thought. My classmates gave me a lot of surprise. I learnt a lot from them. In game development, I still have a long way to go.

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