Leaps and Bounds, not as Good as it Sounds-Adina Friedman


Neon Shields’ recent visit to the Nanohmics lab taught us a lot about lights and coll devices, but we also learned a lot about what the design process looks like, and how long it takes to develop a working prototype. And it turns out, it takes A LONG TIME. And a lot of money. In our class, we have only a year to develop a working prototype, with only about a month for each step of the process. We’ve also been stuck with choosing one product with no option to make dramatic changes.

But this is nothing like real life. During this blog post we will explore how much a product can change as it makes the journey initial idea, to prototype, to final project. To give a real life example, let’s look at the video game Team Fortress 2.

TF2, as it’s called, is a multiplayer FPS game, developed by Valve using the source engine. It’s cartoonish art style and comical character personalities have become iconic. But it didn’t always look that way/

So how did it get from

to this?
to this?

To  find out, we have to take a trip way back into the bronze age, that’s right kids, 1998. Team Fortress Classic had just come out as it’s own game, and it’s popularity inspired Valve to begin making a sequel. This new game was revealed at E3 in 1999, and took the form of a gritty first person shooter, along the lines of Call of Duty. No release date was given at the time, and in 200, development was delayed as the game was transferred from the GoldSrc engine, to the Source engine.

After 6 years, and little to no news, fans had begun to doubt that TF2 was actually in development until it was re-unveiled at the Electronic Arts Summer showcase in 2006. This game was extremely different from the one first shown to the public in 1999. The characters cracked jokes and ran around brightly lit scenery. The character designs were based on early 20th century commercial illustrations, and their voices and behavior referenced cookie cutter characters from the 50’s and 60’s.

Despite all of these changes, TF2 still continues to be developed today, 7 years after it’s release, with new objects, missions and content added regularly. This all goes to show that hitting the nail on the head the first time, isn’t always a good thing. It takes time, trial and error, and sometimes a new approach entirely to make a product worthy of consumers’ money.



featured image: a screencap from when I was killed

TF2 classic models: https://wiki.teamfortress.com/w/images/2/23/Team_Fortress_Classic_original_models.jpg?t=20100625221339

normal models:http://www.toptiertactics.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Heightchart.jpg


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