Cardboard and Steel
Back in the pre-debacle era, when it was easier to be an unabashed Penny Arcade supporter, I was just another fan among the webcomic's legion of readers. Therefore, it seemed only fitting that my first 3D game should serve as an homage to the duo's beloved Cardboard Tube Samurai character. It may not be as slick (see what I did there?) as Hothead's take on the PA mythos, but we tried our best to do right by the comics just the same.
One of the main lessons I took away from this project was how to prioritize and estimate game features and scope when working with limited resources. Because the schedule only allowed a few months for development, we decided early on to focus on realizing a specific scenario from the comics. That scenario, rescuing the kidnapped pig of a local villager, allowed us to have a complete progression arc that begins with the player receiving a clear goal, presents obstacles that must be overcome through exploration and combat, and ends with the successful completion of the required tasks. This emphasis on crafting a single, tightly structured mission really helped turn the end result into a much more satisfying experience.
My own responsibilities this time around included serving as system architect for the code base, as well as implementing the game's camera, Lua script interface, and a large portion of the gameplay logic including object placement and behavior. I was also in charge of maintaining the design document and writing all of the character dialogue.
These days, my Penny Arcade fandom has waned substantially, although I've been surprised and encouraged by some of Mike's more recent comments that seem to indicate a greater level of self-awareness than his previous remarks. While I might not be an avid follower of their webcomic any more, I do think that Jerry and Mike's cultural contributions have been more positive than negative overall - particularly considering their involvement with setting up the Child's Play charity, which remains one of the best things our community has ever done.