Who We Are
We are Team Joystick Heroes, a group of Game Design students enrolled in Camden County College. Our project, "Cougar Racing", is a 3D racing game set on the Camden County College campus in Blackwood. The team strives to obtain the knowledge of the components of game design, such as art styles, programming, social media coverage and so much more.
We have been working on this project for 20 weeks, but we still have a lot of work we need to do. This includes 3D renders of buildings and vehicles, creating merchandise to sell, creating music and art, and eventually after the semester is over, spend the money on ways to improve the Game Design class to use next semester to help in their education.
Feeling a little groggy waking up every morning? Need some hero in your daily wake up routine? Need a shirt, too? Well check this out! We love our backers so much we decided to put in add ons to past and future pledges. All you have to do is manage your pledge, change it to the amount and add the item. Mugs are $15 and shirts are $20. Sizes run from M-XL.
Cougar Racing is a 3D racing game where the location is based on a recreation of the Camden County College Blackwood campus. The player can drive in nine wacky and unique cars, each being a representative of clubs and activities at the college campus. Currently, there are a total of 12 different tracks with more coming along the way, unlocking new cars with different stats along the way.
- Players will also be able to play through these tracks in different modes, such as:
- Time Attack, where the players try to finish the track as fast as possible. Campaign mode, where the player compete against A.I to finish the race and unlock new maps and cars along the way.
- And Versus mode, where you can race against A.I or even against a friend!
- Play against your friends with a functional split screen multiplayer mode where you and another competitor can compete to see who eats the others dust.
- The game has controller support, which works with xbox 360, xbox one, ps3 and ps4 controllers.
- The game is entirely coded in Unity. It not only provides the programming team with a decent engine to run a 3d rendered game, but also adds a versatile selection of tools for them to code with.
The game world is an accurate representation of the Camden County College Blackwood campus. With over 20 buildings to fully model and texture. The art team works incredibly hard to crank out the 20 buildings in the great quality it has. The team also wishes to shape the landscape of the map to have curves and hills like the campus has, because racing on a flat map would be boring to race on after a while.The art team is working diligently to accomplish both creating cars with a unique feel and design to them, creating replicas of the buildings, and modeling the entire terrain.
The buildings are created by using satellite images that we obtained from specific road maps. This is how the team is able to get accurate measurements and layouts of the buildings. They are then taken and designed into a 3D modeling program. Many are taken into Sketchup, 3DS max, or even blender in order to get the accurate dimensions and shape.
This map will not only be a step for the team in the game design process, but also allows the college to work off our map to make a virtual tour of the college. After the map is finished and the project is completed, the map shall be transferred to our teacher so our work can be the first steps in improving the college and one day, make a virtual tour of the Blackwood campus.
After creating the map, other students can take part in modeling the rest of the campus, such as its interiors and other tiny details. Students who work on the 3D tour to its completion will also be given accolades for their contribution and work. So once the game is made to its completion, the next generation of students can enlist on working on the 3D tour once the team passes it on.
We have a total of 9 cars to implement into the game. These cars are not only aesthetically different, but function differently from the others as well. Some cars can make sharper turns; while others can accelerate faster or even be better at ramming other cars out of the way. The cars were modeled after creating concept art and modeling in either Blender or 3DS Max. Not all car renders are available right now.These cars include:
The Cougar Car
The Cougar is the college mascot, so it seems right to represent the college itself in the race. How do we do that? We make a cougar! Into a car! Genius right? With a wind up tail and a moderately ferocious appearance, its speed is unmatched.
The Safety Mobile
Originally used to catch high speed criminals, the campus security car is now a representative of the College race. Although rather hypocritical, it can attain fast speeds and turn on a dime, this once crime stopping vehicle is now used for a lawfully questionable race.
The Joystick Mobile
The Joystick Mobile is the representative car for the Game Design class. This sleek looking joystick comes with two non functional buttons and a joystick with a cape, because what doesn't look good in a cape? The Joystick Mobile is very agile and quick, making even the sharpest of turns look like nothing. With such a magnificent car, this car is obviously the best in class. (TJH represent!)
The City Bus
A whole city bus is also participating in the race as well! It may be huge, but its speed to compensate for heavy traffic make up for it. This behemoth of a car is incredibly good for pushing the other cars out of the way to make its way to its goal.
The School Bus
Thats right! Even the buses are taking part of the competition With a decked out custom engine thanks to the engineers in the garage, despite its ridiculous size. Regardless of its size, it has a lot of power to compete with the rest of the racers. Just watch out for those turns.
The Sigma Gamma Alpha
The SGA is a representative car of the student administration. It is a car with class, with a very decorative appearance and a sleek black coloring, you might think it is not a racing car, WELL GUESS AGAIN! Through the power of money and authority, the student administration obtained the best equipment for their car and replaced most of the pieces under the hood to make the car the fastest out of the racers.
A representative of the Game Club *not associated with the Game Design Class*. This classic buggy design appears to look straight out of a video game. With flashes of code appearing on its windshield, its a wonder how the driver is even able to see out of it. The beetle seems to not behave as it should, appearing to pick up speed it should shouldn't. This "Buggy" vehicle is a very competent vehicle to race against the other vehicles.
The Tiki-Tiki Dune Buggy
Our first sponsor vehicle in the race, the Tiki-Tiki Dune Buggy is a representative from a local board game shop. Although it appears low tech, its wooden exterior makes it extremely agile and light, capable of soaring over the competition. The owner of the vehicle , said "If you are making this game of the campus, you have to make a car based on my store, since I'm your teacher."
This car is… wait we don’t exactly know who is driving this. It’s just a van. Wait are they even from the school? Who let them on the track? Since when did random people just take their vans and barge into other people’s races? I mean, if they want to join then it can work, it already seems modified with some racing components under the hood.
The Mystery Car
This car is unknown to both the other racers and the people holding the contest. It is a closely guarded secret developed by only the most secret group of engineers and mechanics. Buried deep beneath the campus grounds, this car is hiding, waiting to be unveiled to the public eye once the race begins.
We are a group of 10 students working together to make this project.
We have 3 students in the art team, working hard to create 3D assets, art for the game, and promotional art. They create the maps and cars which can be played in the game, the art that goes in the board game , and many more things to interest the eye.
The team also has three students programming the core mechanics of the game and how it will work with everything else, and make sure they work properly. They are the the people who make the cars run, the map feel alive, and make other things work within the game.
The team also has 3 students who are under the code name OMEGA, who help create the audio, create documents, do finances, and advertise among many more things. Here are a few examples of some tracks they have made.
Shake 'n Bake
Omega also runs our social media presence on the internet. If you'd like to follow us, you can reach us at:
Finally our project leader, whose main job is to make sure everyone is working on the same page, to maintain contact with one another and essentially boss everybody around.
In our game design class, the team must spend 2 years working together for all of its members to earn their associates degree for the college. In those two years, Team Joystick Heroes had worked on other projects to have a better understanding of video game design. Along with Cougar Racing, the team has also created:
Our first project that our team has worked on was Toybox of Terror. You play as a brave, young girl named Pandora who unleashed a nightmare of monsters upon her home. As Pandora traverses the house, she would come across boss monsters, which were the manifestation of a specific fear. Some of these bosses included giant snakes, a sentient thundercloud, haunted dolls, giant sharks, and more! All the way up to the final boss, Elpis, the creature who caused this whole disaster. The game is a over the top bubble shooter, where the player must match colored orbs to clear the board, and score points. However, there are also bad bubbles, where if shot with the wrong bubble, would cause a negative effect to them, such as temporary blindness, causing bubbles to harden into rocks, and have haunted ghostly dolls chase after you, causing you to lose if you touch them.
We worked on Toybox of Terror in 2015 and was made within a three and a half months span as our first project. During our work on the game, we realized we had much more to learn about the game design industry than we once previously thought. As our first dip into it, we realized what sorts of strategies and ideas we can use to further enhance our work to become better game designers as a whole. Learning how to fix problems in code, how to design better art and how to avoid easily made mistakes in the future.
Not only are we making Cougar Racing but we have a board game, too. Shifty’s Dirty Racing, turns best friends into the worst enemies. You can play up to a maximum of six players for the most chaos and insanity. At the start of the game you have race track tiles, which is shuffled and one card is placed from each person in a cycle for a completely unique track every time. From then on, you race through oil slicks, other racers, road spikes, and crazy hazards left behind by other players.
We are also including a expansion to go along with it to cause events to happen every turn to spice up the already flaming plate that is this board game. Events can include a rainstorm, raiding the pit crew, suddenly becoming drift kings, and even alien abductions, all with unique effects that change up the game. One game can range for 30 to 45 minutes for one track, completely depending how sadistically you want to ruin the other players fun.
The game is named after one of our legally questionable team members, this guy:
What We Hope to Get
We hope to use kickstarter to help fund our project for merchandise to sell to our families, friends, and anybody else interested. After we use the money to help us through the semester with costs we need to cover for the semester, the money will be used to help the next game design class with their own projects. This will be done by buying supplies and equipment that may be either outdated, broken, or not even present in order to improve the quality of their game. We hope to get:
A custom arcade machine: Now this may look to be simply a luxury item for the class, but our plan was to have a computer with a large amount of space and a decent looking screen to be implemented into the game design room. With it, the class that is going to graduate can upload their game into the arcade machine and students who are interested in the program can see examples of what it takes to make a video game. Over time, this arcade machine will have a huge collection of games from previous teams for the others to take a look at and take inspiration from. Think of it like a history book, but in a retro looking arcade machine finish.
For our last semester in the game design program, we want to learn as much as we can about the game design process as we can. That also includes the prospect of crowd funding, a popular method to fund indie projects nowadays. Not only would this provide us with the extra funding we need for our project, but also help the game design program as a whole after the semester is over and we buy something for the next generation of students. Since Kickstarter is the original crowd funding site, it having a easy to use interface, and it is still very popular, it was an obvious choice amongst the group which to choose. With Kickstarter, we can go through many doors to help further develop the game.
Risks and challenges
There are many risks and challenges to student projects. As we are students, we don't have the experience to create fully fledged games like many other indie studios that can create projects of a much higher quality. We are also on a strict release date as the game must be finished before our graduation in December, or else. Our risks, and how we hope to overcome them are:
•Not finishing the game, or our other major products/assignments on time: This is a gnawing fear we all experience in the class. Ultimately, if we cannot finish the game within the timeframe we are given, we fail the course, PERIOD. Many of us are extremely dependent on the financial aid provided for our good grades, so failure must never be possible, and we all have a burning passion to avoid it.
•Our project does not meet satisfactory quality or goals: Regardless of our status as students, we must have a great quality game within our deadline. There is no excuse to be lazy and leave bugs in the game, have missing art assets, or even miss a deadline. We, as a team, communicate with each other and post updates twice a week on our private social media page. If something were to look out of place, the team lead or co-lead would have to talk with that individual to sort something out, or administer disciplinary action. Our grade and performance are absolutely crucial, and we must all strive for success.
•Conflict within the class: Things like this happen all the time. Ideas or work ethics can clash amongst students and things may be mistranslated, unheard, or disagreed with in the class. We enforce a full transparency policy within the boundaries of the class, and our communication. Every person must be fully honest with their opinions and what is going on within the class. This policy is enforced by our professor and by the leads, and if something were to come up, it must be resolved in a civil manner in order to extinguish such disputes.
•Technical Difficulties: This has already happen multiple of times during this semester. Sometimes code can become corrupted and the team must sift through it to find the source of the problem. Sometimes a computer can just, explode for example, there’s no telling what can happen in the future. Our class relies heavily on technology for its art, programming, advertising, and so much more, and fixing it can be costly. Automobile incidents can also be labeled under this category and, ironically, car issues have not been much of an incident UNTIL we began working on this project. Most of the students drive, so if something were to happen to somebodies car, one person can carpool with another. If technical issues were to arise, projects must be saved frequently on multiple devices and our campus allows us to use the computers during lab hours. So if an artist can no longer 3d model on their computer, they can use the 3d modeling classes computers during its given lab hours.
•Not meeting funding goals: Crowd funding projects can sometimes just not work out. Not everyone can donate the amount of money another person can contribute. If we don't meet funding goals, we can simply plan around with what we have to finish the project. The money we earn in Kickstarter is simply money to help buffer around problems we will have in the future, and to buy what we’d like at the end of the semester. Should we not reach our goal, it will ultimately affect the next class as they will not get equipment they might need.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)