github linkedin email rss

On the Move: A Transportation Story

The first time I ever got paid for making a video game! Just before my college graduation, a civil engineering company based in Atlanta decided to compete for a DoT contract to teach kids about public transportation. The company wanted to propose a video game but had no prior experience creating games nor the developer resources to do so. Interesting choice. A friend at the company recommended me for the gig, and my professional video game career began in earnest!

The title screen for On The Move. The pollution hungry villain Dr. Tisnart looms menacingly in the background.

A wonderful artist named Josh and I had a tight 9 week schedule of part-time work to create a prototype for a game impressive enough to win further funding[1]. We delivered a sample of gameplay, a story[2], a 10-page manual, an installer, and future plans should we get the opportunity. To save time, I managed to re-use a lot of the C++/SDL code from my recently completed Robots vs Stuffed Animals.

Here’s a few shots of the prototype in action:

To stop Dr Tisnart's sabotage of public transportation, players found mini-games scattered throughout the city.
Players drive around the city in a bus customized to their liking. I always thought the flames were a must.
In this mini-game, patrons line up to pay the fare to ride the subway. The player gains points for letting patrons through which present the right amount of change.
My favorite small touch of the entire prototype: after gaining entry to the subway, patrons line up, wait for, and then actually ride the subway.


[1] We didn’t win 😢[/f]

[2] “The notorious, selfish and always evil Dr. Tisnart has once again come up with a diabolical scheme to grow his money hungry empire. Not caring for the environment or the well being of any of his human counterparts, Dr. Tisnart has invented a terrible individual transportation machine known as the Pollutamobile that thrives off the awful air created by too many cars on the road. The Pollutamobile of course requires massive amounts of air pollution to effectively run, and the worst part of the contraption is that it produces twice as much pollution as it takes in! The world simply cannot handle the unveiling of the Pollutamobile, but it appears Dr. Tisnart has practically given the world no alternatives. Realizing the environment friendly and cost effective ways of public transportation will ruin his plans; Dr. Tisnart has sabotaged subways, buses, and carpools to the point of non-functionality all across the world. Leaving safe transportation alternatives inoperable, people have no choice but to use the Pollutamobile. What a travesty! The world does not have much time to act if there is any way to stop Dr. Tisnart. The Department of Transportation has heard of your recently acquired expertise in the use and safety of public transportation and needs you to help restore mass transit alternatives in your local city. The Department of Transportation has equipped you with a wealth of knowledge and one of the scarce still working buses in the world to safely transport yourself around the city. With your success and the collective success of those like you around the world, Dr. Tisnart and his horrible Pollutamobile can be put out of business forever.”[/f]

Back to fun things