Steampunk Machine

Another cool project I have worked on was a steampunk map overlays machine, which we made in three weeks for the Produce Row event.  What is interesting about this project was that I was a project manager for this particular project instead of a developer and this was my first time being a project manager outside of school.  I have risen as a project manager in group projects back at school naturally to organize meetings, split up work, and ensure that our team is on schedule.  However, this project was more chaotic than any school project especially since it had a physical and digital component.  I had to organize meetings at least couple of times per week, check up on multiple components of the projects daily to ensure we were on schedule, hone in on the datasets and interactive physical components correspond with each of these datasets, keep the communication line open with the PDC committee and the PDC Refuge owner in order to have all of the necessary information for including in the steampunk machine and setting up for this event, and purchase resources to make sure that our developer and constructors for the steampunk machine were not blocked in any way.  I did some things that are out of traditional project manager role such as helping out the developer with how to collect data related information from websites, wiring up the steampunk machine, and sauntering all of the wires to help out during crunch time.  It was all worth it!  We were a hit at the Produce Row event!  Sam Adams, the mayor of Portland, was astonished of our steampunk machine and showed Sam Royston, the developer on this project, where his house was on the map.  A lot of Produce Row members were so delighted and amazed by our machine.  Their faces brighten up as soon as they started interacting with it.

Which datasets did we use you ask?  We used five property related datasets collected from Sam’s python webcrawler.

  • Property tax
  • Property market value by square footage
  • Property market value
  • Building type
  • Building age

We also used zoning shapefiles from the Portland civics website as the sixth property related dataset.  All of these datasets each corresponded to a button on one of the small boxes of the steampunk machine.  We were also going to include transportation, but those shapefiles were corrupted preprocessing files that had lines disappearing the more the user zoomed into the map.

The other datasets we used were business type categories that were found in the Produce Row district.  These included:

  • Creative
  • Digital
  • Industry
  • Food & Drink
  • Retail
  • Services

All of these were represented as markers on the map and a switch corresponded to each of these categories acting as toggling them on and off on the large box of the steampunk machine.  Since they were makers, they stayed persistant throughout all of the other map overlays.

The final dataset we used was aerial photos of Produce Row district from 2000 to 2011.  We used one dial to transition through these photos and another dial to change the opacity of these photos so the user could see all of the street and building names on the map.  There was also a joystick and a dial close to it to pan and zoom respectively.  All of these components were on the other small box of the steampunk machine.

I will not forget the hard work of Shawn Bernard and Abby, one of our producers, who stepped up to the plate out of their own free time and built the steampunk machine and gathered some resources for it.  Shawn also made the iPad app for collecting data from incoming Produce Row members that the PDC committee needed.

Without this great team, this steampunk machine would not have been brought to life and be the hit of the event.  Thank you guys for everything you do!  You guys rock!


My Internship Experience at Uncorked Studios

When I got an offer from Uncorked Studios to join on as a development intern, I was the happiest person in the world!  I still feel this way.  Why you may ask?  I get to work on some of the most epic projects and learn new things everyday on the job.  I have contributed to LEGO Superhero Movie Maker iOS app by making a delete movie from movie gallery feature, creating xibs for the YouTube feature, and made the progress bar animation for uploading video to YouTube.  The LEGO Movie Maker app was one of the first iOS apps I have worked on when I first started learning Objective-C.  In addition, I have learned a lot of iOS libraries especially libraries within the AVFoundation framework and some Ruby syntax for adding and removing columns and making API calls by working on one of Uncorked iOS projects in its early stages with my mentor, Shawn Bernard, one of the lead software engineers at my workplace.  It’s still under NDA, but I can’t wait for it to come out on the app store, as it was one of my main projects I worked on during my internship.

Everyone here at Uncorked Studios is like a family to me.  They truly support me in my career choices and help me out when I need help on the projects I have been working on.

We even have small parties for people joining onto the team, for people joining full-time on the team, for people leaving, and for successful launch of apps.  So much delicious food and drinks have been consumed at those parties.  Oh and I have discovered yellow pickled cauliflower at one of the parties, which I have never seen before in my life.  I have been to at least four parties since I have started my internship back in early June.  Even though we party for a lot of reasons, we also work our butts off for all of the products we produce.

I couldn’t ask for a more awesome internship experience.  I am lucky to be here at Uncorked Studios.  I will definitely miss everyone here when I go back to school.

Games, Unity

Chase – First Unity Game I Ever Made

As part of a team project last spring quarter, we had to write a design document, construct a paper prototype from it, test the paper prototype with people from our game design and development II class and implement their feedback for the digital prototype, and finally build the digital prototype in Unity all under two weeks.  In addition to this, we had to teach ourselves Unity and could not seek help from the professor as part of a game industry simulation experience.  We had to learn how to make the menus, which ended up being different Unity scene files, and write C# scripts for all of the game objects in MonoDevelop.  With a team of six people including me, we were able to successfully build three levels for our game and to polish our game multiple times since we finished our project a couple of days before the due date.

My roles in this project include:

  • writing the game elements section and producing art for the game design document.
  • programming death scripts for the player, menu scripts, and instruction script.
  • delegating tasks to people in the team and checking up on people to ensure we were making progress as a team.

Feel free to check out our updated design document.

Here is a link to our game made in Unity.  If you don’t have Unity web player, you need to download it.

Controls for the game:

  • Use WASD or Arrow keys to walk
  • Hold Shift and use WASD or Arrow keys to run
  • Use the mouse to look around
  • Space bar to jump
  • Press E to interact with certain objects
Conferences, Resume

Updated Resume for Grace Hopper Conference

In preparation for the Grace Hopper Conference, I have updated my resume.

New Format and Font

I ditched the old traditional resume format and font (Times New Romans) and came up with a more graphic designer newspaper format with a professional looking digital font.  This approach will definitely catch the eyes of recruiters.

New Content

I added the new skills I have gained through my development internship at Uncorked Studios, my internship experience there, and recent projects I have worked or have been working on.  I also removed some old content and unnecessary information to reflect my most recent work and give more spacing to the overall document.

Here is a link to my new resume.  You can also view it on the resume tab.


Gameloft Game Design Test

As I was rummaging through my flash drive for potential items I could show for my Microsoft final rounds interview for PM intern position, I came across my old Gameloft game design test I completed in the beginning of my last winter quarter of 2011.  I was just starting to learn how to design a really fun game in my Game Design & Development I class using design principles used by professionals.  Even though I didn’t get the internship, the whole process of going through the design test taught me invaluable lessons of how a professional game designer thinks.

Feel free to look at the game design test I submitted and give me feedback.  I am very open to suggestions on how to design fun games for a targeted audience.

Here is a link to the game design test I submitted.

Here are some screenshots I created with Flash CS5.5.  All of the artwork was done by me.


3D Nyan Cat Home Built in Unity, Maya, and Mudbox

Hey guys,

I promised I would upload some pictures of my 3D work, but I got something better!  Here is a video of a 3D Nyan Cat Home I built with a team in my 3D modeling and animation class.  I made the cake, table, rug, cat litter box, cat scratch post models in Maya, UV mapped them, normal mapped the little box, and animated Nyan cat.  My teammates made the rest of the models and UV mapped them.  Then we exported the models to Unity and added colliders to them.

Use WASD to move, Spacebar to jump, and mouse cursor to look around in the scene.


Billiards with Smooth Japanese Jazz Music

Hey guys!

I finished making a Flash billiards game for my Data Structures and Algorithms I (DSA 1) class.  It has smooth Japanese jazz music playing in the background.  Japanese jazz music credits goes to lastsamurai55 on YouTube and all other sound effects come from

Here is a link to a video of me playing it.  As you can probably tell, I’m not a total expert on billiards.  I only played it once in my life.  Basically, I play billiards like I play mini-golf on a bad day. hahaha.

I began uploading videos of my portfolio games, so that potential employers could see them.  I am still looking for a summer internship and am willing to work anywhere in the U.S.

I made significant progress towards the RIT campus map app my partner and I developed in Flash AIR for the iPad and iPhone.  I worked on a majority of the code while my partner, Nate, worked on the design for it.  I’ll post pictures of it soon.  Right now, it allows the user to search for any RIT building by its name, acronym, and number and tells the user if they input an invalid search.  Next step will be to get the current user’s location and spruce up the way the information is being displayed to the user.  For now, all of the information and the picture of the buildings are in the Google info window.

Anyways, I gotta go to DSA 1 and then to the RIT Creativity Fair.  Hope to score a video game, web design, or web development internship there.



GDC was a blast!  I got to meet a bunch of game professionals, get awesome swag such as a BlackBerry playbook tablet, attend sessions relating to mobile development and publishing, go sightseeing with my fellow RIT friends, and play some Indie and Triple AAA games.  Best part of all, it was all free for me thanks to the funding I got from the RIT honors program.

This quarter has been more programming intensive for me.  In my Data Structures and Algorithms I class, I have been creating physics engines that generate dynamic graphics, while in my Mobile Game and Web App Seminar class, I have learned about using MadComponents for rapid mobile app development.

For my Mobile Game and Web App Seminar class, I am designing and developing a RIT campus mobile app with my partner, Nate, in Flash CS5.5.  Right now it’s in  the rough prototype state with the google map web service being displayed as the stagewebview in Flash Air and a searchbar above, which will be used to search for specific buildings in the RIT campus.  We are hoping to also implement the RIT events calendar feed into our app, so RIT students can find out which events are happening for the week and where.  I also want to see if there is a way to incorporate the Google 8-bit map that was released for April Fools as a side feature to our app.

That’s all for now.  Next week is midterms for me and RIT’s Creativity: Careers in Motion event.  I hope to get some more portfolio feedback from that event and meet companies that offer web design and development internships.

Conferences, Website

Recent Projects and GDC

Sorry I haven’t been able to update my blog as regularly.  I have been busy with 20 credits this past quarter and just got a short spring break.  Check out this website I have designed and developed for PC and mobile in my Intro to Web Development class.

I have also done an entire class on 3D modeling and animation in which I created models, UV and normal mapped them, animated them, and finally ported them over to Unity.  Pictures of my 3D modeling work will be coming soon.

I have never been to GDC before, so I am really excited!   I wouldn’t be able to go without the funding from the RIT honors program.  I am very grateful for this opportunity.   I can’t wait to meet all of the people there!


Hello there!

I am Rebecca Vessal, a video game design and development student with the ambitions of breaking into the video game industry.  Feel free to check out some of the games I have designed and developed as part of a team project, solo project, or just for fun.  Hope you have fun playing them!

Currently looking for a summer internship in the video game industry and can double block, be available for 6 months, if needed too.

Check back for updates on my games and blog posts.