We can build on this.

IMM at TCNJ Senior Show 2020

May 18, 2020 | 7:00 - 9:00 pm

Relatively Quickly

Chad Mathern


IMM major and english minor at the College of New Jersey. Aspiring game developer and systems/gameplay programmer. Utilizing interdisciplinary game development skills, knowledge of object oriented and component oriented programming I began creating this solo project to gain an appreciation for all aspects of game development. I also wanted to challenge my current understanding of Unity and ability to learn imperative development skills quickly. I never had any direction upon entering the IMM program until I took a class in game design and was sucked into Unity. I now know I want to use my breadth of knowledge to create games for others to enjoy.

Project overview:

A 3D first person shooter made entirely in Unity with inspiration from early first person shooter design elements. The project also includes some modern elements of first person shooters to attempt to create a more intense experience.

What was the overarching problem or challenge and how did you solve it:

Programming systems I was unfamiliar with like artificial intelligence. Having to work within multiple disciplines encompassed in game development by myself despite previously only working on programming. Having to learn and execute these things in one semester. Lots of research and finding reference materials/tutorials.

Development process and tools:

The process was very unstructured and chaotic since my knowledge of the correct order in which to approach things ran out quickly as the project required more learning to bring certain aspects to the table. I tried to restrict myself to Unity and Microsoft Visual Studio partly to challenge myself to work around their constraints and partly because learning different programs for creating my own original assets was just unrealistic to do in a single semester. Other than that, I sourced some models and effects for free from various sources on the internet.

Personal inspiration/interest:

I have always been a fan of early first person shooters and those inspired by them. Their design principles and fast paced gameplay is both challenging and rewarding. I wanted to explore exactly goes into making these assumedly simple games.

How does this play into your professional/creative goals? What do you want to do with this, after this?

I aspire to become a systems programmer and work for a game development company. I have always admired the medium of video games and the potential they have to affect audiences in various ways. I do believe I will continue working on this specific project mainly as a learning tool and entertainment. If i had unlimited time to work on it i am not sure i could ever get it to a stage where i would be comfortable calling it finished. Hopefully I will find time to keep iterating and building onto what I have created this semester.

How is this work likely to impact the world beyond TCNJ?

My hope is that I will one day be a part of a team that creates something people enjoy. If people could have a meaningful or memorable experience with something I had a hand in creating I would be fulfilled. I derive true happiness from creating things that people genuinely appreciate and impacts them in a positive way. Video games are a truly incredible medium with potential to be profound or just downright entertaining. Hopefully I will one day generate something that someone can have a memorable experience with or simply just brighten their day.

Biggest challenge/hurdle you overcame and how?

To refrain from talking about the numerous boring code challenges that put parts of my project on hold for weeks at a time I will just say that my greatest challenge was ending up with something that does not look good visually. Visuals are a huge part of video games and impact a lot more gameplay and game feel than people realize. I had to accept that me becoming a perfectly rounded game designer in one semester was just unrealistic. Living up to your own expectations is pretty hard too.

How you adapted to COVID situation:

Thankfully this unfortunate situation did not restrict me from accessing my laptop, the only tool I needed. However, my motivation to work took a hit and there were sometimes where I just couldn’t stand to even think about working on it. Finding that motivation whenever possible became a struggle and I adapted by telling myself it was okay to take extended periods of time off from working on it. Sure, that meant less efficiency in my workflow, but I’ll take that over being confined to my home stressing out constantly.

Did you collaborate with others? How?

If watching tutorials, reading threads, and downloading free assets counts as collaboration. Aside from that, this was a completely solo venture.