PROJECT NAME: Echo (Capstone/Thesis)
ROLE: Capstone Adviser
TEAM: Jambalaya
INSTITUTION: De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde
MEMBERS: Jaryd Alfonso Ramos, Joseph Angelo Roxas, Kevin Hallare, Michelle Danielle Joy Gojo, Rundellyn Rose Lugtu, Thaddeus Paul Brillantes

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A two-year hiatus from the academe meant a two-year hiatus on my teaching portfolio, but being blessed with such hardworking students is such a boon upon returning.

Team Jambalaya

The team that called themselves Jambalaya had a rough mid-term defense when they presented their proof of concept. They asked me why I was quiet the entire time. An adviser, at least to me, is a pillar of support. Ethically speaking, it’s bad form to throw your students under the bus or to be overly protective when the going gets tough. At that point, it felt like it was my job to absorb all the criticism from the panel members, especially for a project that is basically still at the proposal stage. This project was memorable to me because it tested my balancing skills as an adviser, suppressing the urge to be defensive while acknowledging the improvements to be done.

Jambalaya during the final defnse.

Jambalaya during the final defnse.

After that defense, I asked the team to rank all the comments so that Jambalaya could begin to work on a task list. Regular meetings, beyond the 6 that were required, ensued. (We actually exceeded the 6 meetings even before the mid terms.) I love how this team told me that they were ready for my fire and brimstone and I asked them, “Up to what level of sermon would you want? Like, with a whip?” Mich replied with, “Bring in the evil gaze, Doc.” 😀

They’re so much fun.

With every week that passed, I saw how this team pushed themselves DESPITE the fact that they were also doing their internship in various companies. And with each week, I felt more confident about their project. I was pretty sure they were gaining confidence as well, because I felt them improve their communication, teamwork, and it all affected the design of the game itself. By the time they presented in the finals, I was beaming with pride.

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Jaryd explaining the game’s theme.

Echo

This game is an action-platformer. You play Garth, a cute little adventurer who goes on a quest to save his village. Though you do shoot charged arrows at many of your enemies, you also get to use your weapon to solve puzzles throughout various stages.

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It also gets darker with every stage. I couldn’t take screenshots of the very last stage, where the final battle takes place, because of the difficulty. I’m actually proud of how the team managed the game’s difficulty progression because it starts out easy then gets a little bit harder with each stage. So anyway, here’s a picture of what Garth is supposed to face in the final stage. (I took a screenshot of the stage where you first meet the dragon.)

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I’m also not a fan of text-filled game instructions so I love how they make you learn new skills through visuals. They don’t bombard you with it in one go, though. The information about some of the things you can do is spread out during the early stages. If you’re familiar with Mihály Csíkszentmihályi’s Flow Theory, this is it at work. :)

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The best part about that final defense?

Hearing the panel members tell them:
“I did not expect this level of improvement from you.”
“Your game made my day so far.”
“The background music gave me goosebumps!”
“This group is my biggest surprise.”

I replied with, “Can you repeat that? I did not hear you. Hehe.” 😀

Oh wait, that’s not the best part. They also ended up being one of the nominees for Best Capstone Project of their graduating class.

There are still things the game might need to improve on (saw them during the final checking) but if the team is willing to work on them for festival purposes, I’d be the happiest Capstone adviser of 2014. Hehe. I’ll just have to make sure that my Capstone advisees won’t be competing with each other on the same categories.