A team of students from St Martin’s Institute of IT has unveiled Scarfish, a mobile game, following its participation in the local game development competitions GameDev Challenge 2011 and GameZing 2011. The game is now available on Android and iOS for iPad and iPhone.

Here is how it is described on Google Play: “The boss wants to make you an offer you can’t refuse. Jump, bomb, and ninja your way through 20 challenging levels; get rid of the competition. And become the top clan in the seven seas. Use your wits, your reflexes and teamwork to get to your target and do what has to be done. You’re the bait but it’s the fish that’s gonna get the hook. Capiche?”

“Three elements made our game development experience hard: time, developers and game idea,” Ryan Sammut, a leading member of the development team, explained. “Time is scarce when working full-time or reading for a degree. The game had to be developed in six months in time to be submitted for the two main local competitions, the University of Malta’s GameZing and St Martin’s Institute GameDev Challenge.

“Finding people who are willing to commit endless hours to take an idea to a finished product is no easy task. This was the second game we developed as Barbaġann Games with very little changes in the team makeup over the two years of our existence. Another challenge was deciding which game idea we were going to work on. We started off with a number of ideas which were eventually discarded after prototyping their core elements. We chose the Scarfish idea after about a month into this process. Having a good team leader helped to stay focused and prioritise the tasks we needed to work on over the remaining five months.”

The Unity 3D game engine was used to develop the game. One of the great features of Unity 3D is that it allows you to write your code once and deploy it on several platforms. At the moment Scarfish can be played from a browser and on most Android or iOS devices (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad). There are plans to release it to the Google Chrome web store soon.

Although Unity handles multi-platform deployment out of the box, the aspect ratio and resolution varies, especially on Android devices vary between models. This requires custom code to handle these manually. Apple devices are more consistent in this regard although the developers still needed to do some handling for the Apple Retina Display models.

Scarfish can be downloaded from Google Play ( http://play.google.com ) and the Apple App Store ( http://itunes.apple.com )

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