A group of Northeastern students are heading towards the final stages of creating their very own game, Before Common Era (B.C.E), which is intended to bring lighthearted gameplay to a wide range of players to enjoy. All three of the game’s creators, Conor Golden, Arjun Rao, and Chris Kuffert, are seniors in the Computer Science and Game Design combined major program. After finding inspiration for the idea in their Rapid Idea Prototyping class, they began drafting their game in the fall of 2015, and in January 2016, started a self-directed co-op together. As they have spent the last several months developing B.C.E., the goal behind it has remained consistent and straightforward: to create a game centered on bringing players joy and entertainment.
“The game was born in Northeastern classes and we used a lot of what we learned in class early on,” the team behind B.C.E. explained. “It’s not easy to teach game development itself because every game is so different, but we learned a lot about the prototyping process and the design fundamentals. Things we learned in Rapid Idea Prototyping, Fundamentals of Level Design, and Building Game Engines all contributed to helping us get the game off the ground.”
Since the goal of the game is to bring joy and entertainment to its players, it is no surprise the premise of B.C.E. itself is fun, and perhaps even a little goofy. It is a top-down, team-based multiplayer game in which two teams of cavemen compete against each other for control of their most precious resource: fire. Players must work together to gather resources to strengthen and defend their team’s fire while maintaining a strong offense to keep away the opponents. While the game is simple in its appearance, it is packed with depth and strategy the more a player gets to know it. Check out the trailer here.
“The Stone Age setting brings a sort of slap-stick humor to the game that bolsters the rambunctious, laughter-filled experience that we aim to provide. The reason we came up with the ancient theme was because we were listening to the radio and the song Send Me On My Way from the Ice Age movies came on!” the team continued. “It’s true that the game has a low barrier of entry and low commitment, but the fluid and skill-based nature of the dynamic combat system in B.C.E. offers serious players something to master and become more competitive with. That is why we are so excited about the prospect of offering both a party game and a more traditional networked-multiplayer game.”
The process of creating B.C.E. started with Conor, Arjun, and Chris simply drafting ideas on a whiteboard. They spent two weeks or so brainstorming and experimenting on paper before they moved onto code. After the initial prototyping was over, the group began working in Unreal Engine, which is a suite of game development tools, to build out the core of the game. They iterated on a simple map with one character, each week adding features to the character, map, animations, network functionality, and game mode. Six weeks into development they hosted their very first playtest, which was followed by many more, to gather constant feedback from players. They fixed bugs, added features, and improved the game off the feedback gathered in these playtest sessions. The game’s final stages have been an ongoing series of enhancements and updates since then. B.C.E. is targeted for a release in late summer of 2017 and will be sold on Steam.
As if creating B.C.E. wasn’t a big enough feat, Conor, Arjun, and Chris have also started their own company, Blue Drop Games. While all three of them are the sole developers of B.C.E., the company’s first game, they each play different roles within the company. Conor serves as the Game Director/Product Owner, Arjun is the Game Director/Executive Producer, while Chris is Technical Director. They plan to continue building and releasing fun and interesting games through Blue Drop Games, so be sure to stay tuned!
Conor, Arjun, and Chris on day one of B.C.E.’s creation.