Class of 2015 (expected) – Innis, CSI
3rd year Innis student, Lindsey Poad, is majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Cinema Studies and Visual Studies. She is also part of a dynamic duo responsible for the creation of the computer game, Midterminator: Residence Evil. Lindsey and fellow Innis student, Lucy Lin, teamed up to develop a computer game inspired by their experiences and favourite memories with friends during their 2012-2013 residence period.
When did you first become interested in video game design?
This past summer I was part of the computer science research opportunity program where we designed games for seniors to help with their cognitive skills. I’ve always been an avid gamer, but it was probably at this point when I realized I could actually make my own games – and enjoyed doing it.
How were the responsibilities divided between the two of you?
The writing process and level design has always been a team effort. We usually just open up a google doc and bounce ideas off each other there. Once the outline for the level is set, Lucy handles all the graphics, while I implement everything into a finished playable game. YAY teamwork!
What inspired you to create a game based on Innis Residence? How did you decide on the characters?
Our inspiration for Midterminator was largely based on our experiences from last year, including our 1 a.m. hallway sword fights and that one time I was a cardboard box robot (ok, so maybe it happened on more than one occasion). Many unforgettable memories and friends were made at Innis res, and we wanted to forever immortalize them in the most legendary way possible: a video game.
As for the characters, we started off with the intention of just including our close friends. As the story began to take shape, we started adding more and more characters, including those who’ve made a large impact in the residence or are just downright awesome people.
Who came up with the game’s title?
I don’t remember exactly – we chose the title way back in August. I think I came up with the midterminator part, and Lucy thought of residence evil. So we just stuck a colon in between and called it Midterminator: Residence Evil. It’s safe to say we’re fans of puns n’ wordplay n’ stuff.
Is video game design something you are considering as a potential career? What are your future aspirations?
Definitely. It’s one of the options I’m strongly considering. Games aren’t just used for entertainment anymore, but tools for learning and helping people. I’d love to be a part of that.
Working in a technology related field that incorporates my passion for art, film, and music would be amazing. Art and comp sci – best of both worlds right there. Or, you know, I may just end up becoming a YouTube celebrity and achieve my lifelong dream of Internet stardom. Stay tuned, Internet.
Right now though, I’m planning on learning some new coding languages (html5) and teaching myself how to make pixel art. I have a bunch of game ideas that I’m dying to create as well.
Also travelling. I really want to see more of the world, and not from my glowing computer screen.
What are some of the difficulties that you encountered while creating this game?
Meeting deadlines has been a big challenge for us. We started off trying to make and release an episode of the game each month, but it’s been difficult finding time with school and work. I could get into a nice long rant about the technical challenges we’ve encountered, but I’ll save you from that.
What are the next steps for the project?
We still have a few more episodes to finish, so hopefully we’ll get those done soon. I’ll probably go back and rework the earlier levels, fixing glitches and making it run smoother. Lucy and I also recently worked on a mobile app game with a friend, so we’ve been discussing the possibilities of making Midterminator into an app in the future.
What advice do you have for those who are interested in game design but are not sure where to start?
Just make a game! There are a ton of free resources and tutorials online that teach you how to make games, even without any prior coding experience. Start simple and then work your way from there. Lucy and I were way too ambitious with Midterminator in the beginning, so we had to split the game up into episodes and simplify it into something that we’d be able to achieve. Who knows, maybe you’ll make the next Angry Birds, or Tiny Wings, or Flappy Bird (*PRO TIP: making a game with birds guarantees success).