Who says College Freshmen can’t make games?
Meet ACPC Productions, a merry band of college sophomores consisting of 10 guys and gals with the sole goal of making games. No, they aren’t NJIT students: they attend Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont. But regardless of their academic background, they made a really fun game last year that I have to tell you all about. Hopefully, you game designers and developers will get inspired and start finishing games and putting them out, regardless if it’s retail or free on sites like gamejolt.com
Dolphin Squadron is an Underwater shoot-em-up where you play as a dolphin trying to save the world from nautical terrorists trying to blow up cities and the International Space Station. As part of a special dolphin force, you have easy access to a bevy of weapons ranging from katanas to rockets as long as you take out the number of power up fishes that come your way.
The game’s levels task the player with one goal: destroy a giant bomb that’s heading for the surface and blow it up before it gets to the top of the seas. You have to take out the ship that’s carrying the bomb to the surface and then, in self-sacrifice for the good of the world, use yourself to blow the bomb up.
Dolphin Squadron is over-the-top fun. With a creative premise, combining dolphins and guns, you can’t help but chuckle as you blast away fishes blocking your path to take out the big bad terrorist bomb. There is a great rush of excitement each time you defeat the terrorists as you rush straight for the bomb they were guarding. The moment you get into the deep bounds of space, you’ll flip out at how crazy the game gets.
It goes without saying that the presentation of Dolphin Squadron knows that it’s awesome. As soon as I opened up the game, cheesy Japanese characters pop up along with retro-filtered sound clips saying “Dolphinu.” I was then treated to a cigar-smoking dolphin in a submarine at the bottom the sea floor. The over-the-top ness of Dolphin Squadron makes you know you’re in for a very stylized yet crazy experience.
Overall, for a free game, Dolphin Squadron’s definitely a game you should look into. With a great soundtrack and fun level design, it isn’t a surprise that it’s gotten a good following since its release.
I asked Ryan Huggins, the lead designer on Dolphin Squadron, for some tips for fellow student game developers on how they should handle their projects.
Me: Ryan, for as long as I’ve known you, you’ve been making games but you’ve also been able to have a great social life while being so dedicated to your craft. How do you do it?
Ryan Huggins: Well, that’s because I schedule out everything I do. If I don’t, then I’m going to be rushing for more time and everything suffers in the end.
Me: Yeah, keeping a schedule helps keep things in line but are you just making games? I mean, you’ve worked on a bunch of titles before you started working on Dolphin Squadron.
Ryan Huggins: I don’t spend all of my time making games. Actually, you shouldn’t sacrifice living a good life for the sake of making awesome games. The way that I see it is that you have to live your life and explore. Especially if you want to find new inspirations, you can’t just make games. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should distract yourself with life. In other words, you need a balance between the two.
Me: Great point! Last question, what would you say was the reason your game is as great as it is?
Ryan Huggins: I would have to thank the people who worked with me on this game! We, as a team, work so well together that we were able to power through the development of Dolphin Squadron and make it awesome. You have to find people you know you can work with. Once you have that great team, not only will the end product be a lot better but you’re going to find developing games a whole lot more fun than going solo.
If you want to play Dolphin Squadron, check it out at http://gamejolt.com/games/arcade/dolphin-squadron/15018/
You can also check out their blog: http://siifour.blogspot.com/ to get the latest scoop on their current projects!
by Matthew Maravilla