When One Ping Only received a positive reception after it was developed during January's Global Game Jam, the team behind it decided to continue to develop the project.
Kalyn Farmer, Scott La Fetra, and Daniel McKernan built on Derek Ho's original models, refined the audio with Bradley Jardine and incorporated Kit Ainslie's creature design in the game's finale to pull off a compelling, immersive game experience. A week ago, they put the game out on the Steam platform.
"The basic shader code was first discovered through a GitHub search, but then we extended its capabilities to include multiple lighting angles", Scott said. Reviewer comments point to the immersive quality provided by the lighting dynamics that serves to pull players into the game. But, nothing has provided the team with a jolt like the real-world feedback they are receiving now. "We just cracked 100 downloads in China!", Scott exclaimed.
"We built our own deadlines. We communicated with each other as a team. In the end, we found out a lot about ourselves and how to work together."
As Project Lead, Kalyn had worked with Scott before and cites the interplay between the team members as critical for this project taking on a life of its own. "We built our own deadlines. We communicated with each other as a team. In the end, we found out a lot about ourselves and how to work together."
"There are things you can learn in class, but some things you can only learn from the experience of doing it", said Daniel. "Other people can't teach you everything. Sometimes, you need to learn the hard way. And, some things you need to learn by working with others, not working just by yourself."
Students Scott La Fetra, Kalyn Farmer and Daniel McKernan describe the experience gained by working together on the game, One Ping Only, which has over 1,000 downloads after a week on the Steam platform.
These lessons are not lost on users from around the world:
"Very nice and unique game concept, because you are controlling an underwater submarine. You can only see the basic shape of the submarine and the environment." - faruq9854
"Excellent concept and execution. Great atmosphere, even just listening to the pings if nothing else. It's a fun little free game. No complaints here." - Kyle'o'Ren
"Great Job! As a teacher, I cannot express the awesomeness of this game. Student work is an extremely important thing and you took the extra step and published your work. Great job and keep up the great work!" - KohnarGaming
"Interesting Game. Would love to see it expanded. I feel a good story coming out of it. Sonar, give me a ping." - EmperorPotato
"Very short, but very worthwhile. It wasn't supposed to be a horror game I don't think, but I was terrified the whole time, the thought of hitting a wall even once scared the hell out of me. 10/10. - ethanpoland
One user, "Team Bravely" went so far as to stream a "let's play" video with the following comments:
"Beating all expectations: The same day it launched, this college-based - student indie game made it to the top of Steams 'New Free 2 Play Games'.
Even though not polished, the game is deep and immerses us into a seemingly abandoned submarine world. Without the use of soundtrack, the game still proves itself full-fledged and flourishes especially through its abstruse art style. The very simplistic UI allows the player to focus on exploring and gives a clear overview of events happening on screen.
The game itself plays fluid (Haha, you get it, because...underwater...ok). I think I was too impatient to figure out the backwards movement but other than that, I still felt I could explore all the unknown depths the environment offered. Regardless of if you watched the 90's movie the game is based on, it still acts as a worthy, short, but intrinsic play-through of an experience."
While the group has created a publishing entity, Triconn Games, a Facebook Page, and a website, One Ping Only remains a student project. By taking the steps needed to get real-world feedback, the team has opened doors to new possibilities.