Student Project: Mayi
Three years ago, I had a truly tough time with my master’s final paper. It was sort of a thesis and it was about the implementation of a system for Asia Pacific College’s School of Multimedia Arts. My dream was to improve the department. Enough so I could hone multimedia arts students into creating games that are not obsessed with graphics but have the right UI, and games that are not too technical so that players can easily relate to them. I wanted to see multimedia arts students who weren’t scared of straddling the line separating art and science.
With the help of the people who had heeded my calls, I formed my ideal game development team and we implemented the system upon my master’s graduation (2007). My guinea pig batch (ABMA43) graduated two years ago and the batch that had benefited from the early birth of the game development team (ABMA60s) will be graduating this 29th of May. Their interactive portfolios are a tremendous leap from the previous batches.
However, it was this year that we saw the largest difference in our third year students’ (ABMA70s) game development projects. One of the projects produced was Mayi, a role-playing game that is set in pre-colonial Philippines. This is how the development group described the game:
It is a 3D RPG Filipino-themed game that features our country’s rich mythological culture. The game is set during the ancient Philippines, when our land was still called Mayi. The characters and environment designs are based in the pre-colonial Filipino culture.
I love the fact that this is a well-researched project, with a storyline so fertile with possibilities that my eyes nearly watered with joy during the Multimedia Production (MAPROD2) defense.
Here are sample screenshots:
While I was viewing this, I was reminded of the good ol’ days when I headed the Philippine Rose Online product development team of Level Up! Inc. Alas, that game has now been scrapped, but the sprites here look so much like the ones found in pRose. Except this is very Filipino. I’m also proud to say that they used Alibata correctly. They never learned this ancient Filipino alphabet in school so they really dug up a whole gamut of information to come up with a cohesive plot and a surprisingly endearing way of presenting it. The language used is Tagalog and they were very consistent with it, down to the menus and prompts.
This disproves all those naysayers who announce that Filipinos can only license and distribute games, not make them. Of course, we can make them! And to think, these are students, teenagers who have not yet gone into their internship. There are a few kinks in the game that I’ve told them to improve on and I’m looking forward to what else they can do after internship.
Mayi is a project of the MAPROD team Synergy, which is composed of:
Their MAPROD professor is Luna Pagarigan. DIGIMED proposal advisers are Ms. Agnes de Vera and Sir Gibet Torres (2D Animation instructors), Ms. Criselda Dumlao (Painting instructor) and me (Game Authoring and Human-Computer Interaction professor).
Here is Mayi‘s official trailer. It’s full of low-poly 3D cut scenes. I realize that the viewing public may have been more exposed to the high-poly mainstream type 3D features (Avatar, How to Train Your Dragon, Ice Age, etc.). Mayi, on the other hand, has the type of 3D that you regularly see in video games (old school Final Fantasy, Legend of Legaia, Wild Arms etc.). Background music credits to: Rohan, Grand Chase and Grand Fantasia.
I would like to thank the following people for helping us achieve this:
The DIGIMED professors and MAPROD advisers mentioned above, of course.
Victor Michael Mariano
Elvert dela Cruz Bañares
ABMA43, for agreeing to be my guinea pigs
Former APC-SoMA Director Gerard Cadlum, for allowing me to implement my “crazy” plans and presenting my SoMA development project to the Academic Council (two years before I became a part of that very council)
Current APC-SoMA Director Robert Besana, for helping me smooth the transitions.
Mayi is the first in a series of blog features I will have about the MAPROD projects. Stand by for more.