Q&A with Melvin Rother: Creating Ornament Express

Q&A with Melvin Rother: Creating Ornament Express

09/15/2023 - 13:04

Meet Melvin Rother, a fourth-year CMGT student doing the Programming track. Currently, he's immersed in a year-long internship at NeoBards Entertainment Ltd. Melvin shares his experiences working on the game ‘Ornament Express’ during his third year of studies at BUas.
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Can you tell us something about the game you worked on? 

Melvin: ‘Sure! “Ornament Express” is a VR escape room. In the game, you step into the shoes of a detective hired to solve an art theft mystery aboard a train. The gameplay involves solving several puzzles, making it a thrilling adventure. Our team worked on this project throughout our third year of studies. The game is available on Steam, and it's compatible with various VR Platforms like Steam VR.’ 

Play Ornament Express on Steam.  

What was your role in developing the game? 

Melvin: ‘I wore multiple hats during the development of “Ornament Express”. As part of a small team of around 15 people, I served as one of the Quality Assurance leads and the DevOps lead. My responsibilities included managing automation pipelines, conducting performance profiling, and ensuring that the game ran smoothly.’ 

‘I was fortunate to be part of a team with good dynamics. Having excellent game development skills alone is insufficient; it's equally important to possess strong interpersonal abilities to create a productive team environment. We maintained a culture of mutual respect and great dedication to crafting a fun gaming experience.’  

Could you describe the development process for Ornament Express? 

Melvin: ‘The development process for our game was structured into four phases. We began with concepting, brainstorming what the game would entail based on the project brief. It needed to be a VR escape room, with a detective storyline set in 1900s Switzerland, with the use of a Cel Shader art style.’ 

‘Pre-production was the next phase, where we set up all the necessary systems, like the fire system that I worked on, to streamline content creation during production. During the production phase, we utilized these systems to create the game itself, focusing on refining details and occasionally creating new systems as needed.’  

‘After production, we released our game and entered the post-release phase. These stages allowed us to gather player feedback and make necessary updates to improve the game. We fully released "Ornament Express" immediately, later releasing a full visual overhaul update enhancing visual elements, lighting, and textures based on player input.’ 

‘The feedback we received overall was very positive, and we even received nominations, such as the Dutch Game Awards nomination for Best Student Game and we were one of the showcase projects by INDIGO. It feels good to see all our hard work has paid off.’   

What are your future plans following this successful project? 

Melvin: ‘I've found my passion in both Game Development and DevOps work, and while I can't reveal specifics about my current projects at NeoBards Entertainment Ltd., I can say that my experience with “Ornament Express” played a pivotal role in securing my internship here.’ 

‘Ideally, I aim to strike a balance between game development and DevOps work. I want to excel in both domains and create games that both run well and bring joy to players, much like the games I loved playing when I was younger. My long-term goal is to become a senior in the field and continue crafting enjoyable experiences.’  

‘My time at BUas has been instrumental in preparing me for the professional world, and I'm excited about the opportunities it has opened up for me.’ 


You can find Melvin Rother's portfolio and LinkedIn profile for more details on his journey and future endeavours.