There Goes The Neighborhood

TGTN is a kid-themed Action-Adventure set in an ’80s suburb, that was developed as term project by an ambitious group of students at the University Of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, Campus Hagenberg.

The player slips into the role of the new kid in town. He gets beat up by a mean bully on his first schoolday and thus organizes a club. A club that is going to take over the neighborhood!

The main features were:

  • Build a clubhouse in your backyard and upgrade it to the ultimate fortress!
  • Recruit the finest kids of your neighborhood, be it Populars, Bullys, Nerds or even Girls. *yikes*
  • Help thy neighbors by doing chores for them, or ransack their garbage and trample down their flowers.
  • Use your greatest weapon – your imagination - to battle other kids in deep dungeons, mighty castles, carribean waters or western plains.
  • Conquer the playgrounds to rally support and take over the control of the neighborhood.

But be home before supper or you’ll get grounded!

I took over the job of the creative director.
I pitched the game concept, it found great reception with the audience and got chosen. The idea was to create a similar ingenious, genre-mixed game like the ones Tim Schafer/DoubleFine are known for. The whole project was also some kind of university experiment on cross-degree term projects. MA, MSc and Bachelor students worked together on this game.
Sadly, but not unforseeable, the project never got finished (those overambitious student projects...).

We made a quiet good-looking milestone presentation video (see below) which was supported by me moderating what's happening and listing the different features.(You probably want to skip the first minute because there's nothing interesting going on.)

My responsibilities with the project were:
create style guides, write the game design doc, plan production, assign tasks, communicate the idea, keep the team on track, document everything, maintain the design docs and the glossary, check and approve assets, prototype and test features.

Further I did the character modeling plus the billboard vegetation.

kids styleguide
clubhouse billboard tree
neighborhood styleguide

The level design document for the first part of the town (tutorial and player base) can be looked into below. Although not part of the milestone presentation, this level was later created in Unity. Screenshots are attached to the document.

>> Tutorial Town level doc (pdf)
>> Play the Unity Webplayer demo

We used simplified design papers to communicate the idea to the team and the teaching staff. They did not replace the game design doc/bible but were a little bit more nifty and focused than a wall of text.

In hindsight there are a lot of thing that I would have done differently. But I'm glad how far we got and that I learned a lot.