He got game
March 5, 2009 By CHRIS LAFORTUNE firstname.lastname@example.org
Justin C. Moore is passionate about games, especially video games.
"I always sort of make little games for myself for any given task," the River Forest resident said. "I try to beat my old score, my old time, my records."
"I always think about, sort of, situations and opportunities to try to maximize your utility against your opponents, which would be anyone else in the environment around you."
A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Moore now has a video game he developed with friend Joshua Hernandez online at Xbox Live Community Games, called "percussONE."
Moore and Hernandez are students at Flashpoint Academy in Chicago. Moore's in his second year there, ready to graduate in the summer.
At MIT, Moore studied mechanical engineering and finished with a degree. While in college he tried to wean himself off of games.
"I didn't think it would be, sort of, a productive thing to pursue," Moore said.
He was unsuccessful. When he graduated he realized games were what he wanted to do.
"After graduating, I buckled down and started teaching myself to program, just working on smaller projects, trying to get people together to work on games," he said.
percussONE is a puzzle game, influenced by games such as "Tetris Attack" and arcade game "Klax."
Players align game pieces of similar colors, taking them off of a playing field when they line up three or more. As the game progresses, the pieces arrive faster. If the field fills, the game ends.
Players can play singularly or with friends, against one another or cooperatively. Moore and Hernandez entered the game into Microsoft's "Dream, Build, Play" contest, but failed to be finalists. They tweaked the programming, entering it into another contest, the Independent Games Festival.
"We didn't make finalist there, either, unfortunately," Moore said.
But they worked on the game further and had it accepted into the Xbox Live Community platform. It went live in mid-February.
"I have heard from, not direct buyers, but I've heard rumors of buyers," Moore said. "Friends of friends who have purchased it. There are a couple of reviews online that mentioned it favorably."
Xbox Live's Community Games platform has been online since November. About 200 games are now accessible through the system, according to information from Microsoft. Users are able to download free tools to make and distribute their own games.
Moore enjoys puzzle games, though they're not his favorite. He prefers role-playing games, in which players take on the role of a character in an extended gaming experience, either singularly or online.
He has ideas for several role-playing games, but they're the most difficult to program, Moore said. For the moment he's going to continue working on puzzle games with Hernandez and any others they can recruit.
"We started simple," he said. "We're going to build up from there."