From Game Concept to Full Mobile Game - How Students Made "Tangram Jam"





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Published on Feb 6, 2014

Listen in as Cogswell students Wambugu Kaigwa, Art Lead for the project and Sean Langhi, the Engineering & Design Lead, share their excitement about the work they are doing in the Game Studio. "Tangram Jam" which is a Unity based action/puzzle game for mobile devices. [Read more...]

Langhi remarks that this project is exactly what he came to Cogswell to do. He found Cogswell and was drawn to the school because he heard that it had a curriculum that truly focuses on what students are there to learn. For him, it's game design and programming.

Kaigwa remarks that he had heard of Cogswell's award-winning animated film course, Project X, but didn't expect himself to have such a great opportunity with a high-level position on the game project. He came to Cogswell to improve his character animations, but he got way more than that out of the program - the program exceeded his expectations.

Langhi has been impressed with Cogswell's student culture first-hand, the types of classes, and the way the college arranges its facilities. For example - there's a room called the "Game Design Room" that is dedicated to game design classes. The fact that Cogswell has a space set aside specifically for Game Design shows it's dedication to the program of study.

Kaigwa was used to working alone doing freelance worked, and had to create his own production pipeline and work by himself to deliver a project. The Game Studio project has been a great opportunity to work with many different people with different skill sets, different temperaments and to focus on the area that each person is best at. Presently, he supervises six different artists on the character team - some artists focus on character models and others on animation. For him, building the project has been a totally new experience. The way the group works is very autonomous, without a lot of micro-management. Students on the team are assigned tasks by Kawaga based on their skills and availability. Managing students like this, steering them in the right direction and guiding their art, has been an incredible learning experience for him.

Langhi has been managing an engineering team of four people, but it has been two different teams over two different semesters. He has had the opportunity to collaborate with different work-group subcultures and different personality types; and has learned how best to use each team member and how best to keep them motivated. For example, one of their programmers had not worked with the software program Unity before but was tasked with User Interface (UI) button implementation. Instead of giving up, the programmer stretched his skills and discovered a new-found love of implementation. Since then, his full-time role became UI Implementer.

Langhi feels that he is developing the problem-solving skills that he will need when entering the industry and throughout his career. By learning to interact and work with different people, he has created a very efficient team. One of the exciting aspects of the project is that is a project for an actual client. "Tangram Jam" is a production-quality game designed to specifications requested by the client and is revised and pitched to that client on a weekly basis through Skype calls. The finished game will be available on the App Store and on Google Play, and will give students the invaluable tangible portfolio pieces they need to apply for jobs in the industry.


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