Projects: Campus Quest


Class: Software Science (CS 344)
Term: Spring 2006
Application Type: Video Game
Language: Java
Partners: Mike Arneson, Greg Jensen
Sprite Artwork: Carrie Phillips


The goal of this project was to use a software engineering technique on a software project. My team decided to create a classic Legend of Zelda-style RPG, based around the story of a medieval warrior being transported through time to a modern-day university campus. We had planned to finish the project with all bells and whistles, including music, multiple levels, and a storyline.

We implemented many of the requirements we had chosen. The basic game engine was completed, as well as an editor program to simplify level layout. Map information was stored in simple XML files. Perhaps the most innovative feature of the game was a very simple scripting system, designed to allow dynamically-assigned missions and state data to be tracked.

I was the team leader, and I learned a lot about managing a software project. It is incredibly difficult to get three college students' schedules to align. Different programmers have different skills, and they must be leveraged in a manner that engages their interest. Most importantly, I learned that you must either pick a realistic deadline or reduce your feature set — you cannot have both.

Given the chance to do this again, I would pick a less-lofty goal. An RPG of this magnitude is incredibly complex, and we simply did not have enough time to meet all the requirements we had set out at the beginning of the assignment. Additionally, I would do a better job of managing the team and enforcing deadlines, because not all members of the team did an equal amount of work.