Teens on mission to create futuristic video game

KIRSTY MCMURRAY
Last updated 05:00 22/01/2013
Brody Heal
ANDY JACKSON

GAME ON: Stratford teenagers, from left, Brody Heal, 16, Jonty Marshall-Smith, 18, and Shay Walmsley, 17, are part of a group developing a video game.

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Video games are not just a game for a group of Taranaki teens.

The Stratford High School students and former students have spent most of their summer holidays in front of their computers designing Deep Space - a game they hope to release later this year.

They have their sights set on selling the game and delivering it through Xbox Live Arcade and online gaming platform Steam.

Shay Walmsley, Brody Heal, Jonty Marshall-Smith, Jacob Foley and Alex Preston plan to put their self-taught skills, which range from project managing to programming, into practice to create an original game set in the future.

"We chose 2276 as the year and the nations of Earth have joined together into one government and have started to colonise other planets. The Earth government has lost contact with one of these colonies so that's when you come in, you're sent there to find out what happened," Mr Walmsley said.

The game will have bit-era graphics in homage to older games like Doom and Wolfenstein but play like Halo or Call of Duty. "It's splicing the old with the new," Mr Heal said.

They said there was a gap in the market for such a game, and had already checked the name Deep Space had not been trademarked. "The way to make a successful game is to do something a bit different," Mr Walmsley said.

But they are realistic about competing in the already over-saturated industry. "We're not trying to go up against EA Games or anything like that, but we are trying to make something that will astound people."

The team has already spent countless hours researching, developing the concept and writing the storyline.

While their computers are grunty enough to handle the type of work they need to do to build the game, their bank balances fall a little short.

So they turned to crowd-funding platform Indiegogo to raise the cash they need for software and distribution licences, which can cost up to US$1500 (NZ$1792).

They also need software like Blender for 3-D modelling, Photoshop for textures, and Unity for the game engine.

They would like to hire more help, but they will not see a cent of the $21 they have been pledged on Indiegogo so far unless they reach their funding goal of $7000.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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