Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Final Blog Entry

I don't know if we needed to add this in a blog entry, but here is the final Game Document for Team 3


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Blog Entry: Team Document Update

Our team document was updated here.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Blog Entry #7

Repeat homework 6, applied to your own team's game. The analysis is individual and done on your blog. Address the following issues:

1) the Tetrad
2) Balance
3) Emergent properties (check the book out)
4) Interest curves (check out the book)
5) Explain the reasons you like or dislike the game and relate this to Game Design issues. 

STORY: You wake up in a mysterious warehouse with no memory of who y0u are, and after a few altercations with some plant zombies you discover that you are an android. You must go out into the plant-zombie infected city and find and recruit survivors, finding out the origins of the zombie virus and, after a number of missions are completed, you must enter the laboratory of the mysterious mad scientist and put a stop to the vicious AI  that is orchestrating the outbreak.
MECHANICS: The player starts out with just the android, but as they collect more characters they can play as them as well. The characters will have a variety of attack depending on who they are. The game is set in an open world city, with new areas of the map unlocking throughout the game. The player will navigate to safe houses scattered throughout the city where they can heal, organize inventory, select missions, and choose the charaters they wish to bring with them on each mission. The missions will have a time restraint element, as the player will ideally want to finish the mission before daybreak. Since the zombies are plantlike, they are much more powerful during the daytime. Health items will be scattered throughout the map. The player can attack, change characters, and interact with certain objects, such as doors and levers.
ART: The art will be dark and acidic colors to keep with the tone, and low poly. The music will be industrial, for the android, city environment, and science, and woodwind-y and reed-y  for the plant zombies. The android and AI will be voiced using robot-speech programs (Microsoft Sam, etc.)
TECH: The game will be played on PC, and made using Unreal Engine. Most of the games assets will be made on blender, makehuman, or found on blendswap.

The attack power and health of the zombies will start small and increase as the player gains more characters, and as the variety of player characters increases, so will the variety of zombies.

Emergent Properties:
The player will ideally have their own choice of which characters they bring with them on mission, and the variety will allow them multiple ways to finish each mission. For example, at the end, the player can choose between taking a stealthy route or a frontal assault route into the laboratory, and can choose their characters accordingly.

Interest Curve:
As the player progresses, the enemies will become relatively more difficult to defeat, and the missions will become more complex. Furthermore, more details about the AI, the scientist, and the android will be revealed throughout the game.

I think the game is a very interesting, fun concept. I think it has potential for a lot of gameplay variety.

This week, I continued to work on character design and animation, as well Kelly. Abbie and Thomas continued to work on level design and coding.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Blog Entry #6

Game I Liked: Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon (turn- based strategy)


  • Story: This game follows the story of Marth, prince of the fictional medieval kingdom of Altea. When he was young, his kingdom was invaded and taken by the rival kingdom of Dohlr under the rule of the resurrected Medeus, the Shadow Dragon, and is forced to flee to an allied kingdom. Years later, when he is older and has gathered enough support, he launches a military campaign to take back his kingdom. As the sole surviving male heir to the Altean royal family, he will follow the legacy of his legendary ancestor and eventually slays the Shadow Dragon, freeing the continent of his tyrannical reign.
  • Mechanics: The game is a turned based strategy, and as such it operates by alternating between a Player Phase and an Enemy Phase. During the Player Phase, the player can make one move for each of their units, including move, attack, use item, etc. The movement of the units are bound to a square grid covering each level, or chapter. When the player moves a unit to attack an enemy unit, a display box will first appear to show them the results of the move. It displays the health, damage dealt, and chance of hit or critical for the move of both your unit and the enemy unit. These numbers are all determined by the stats of each individual unit, which include strength, defense, skill, etc. After this screen the player can choose whether or not to continue with the attack. If the player still chooses to attack, the two units will act according to the display box. While every unit has a chance to counter- attack when engaged in an attack, the unit who initiates the attack always strikes first. The item option for a turn gives the unit the chance to use an item, mostly health items. When the player has ended their turn, the Enemy Phase begins automatically, and the game's AI moves all of its units under the same rules as it sees fit. Depending on the weapon that a unit is wielding, it can have a variety of ranges for attack, but it most commonly one to two squares away. Certain terrain squares can have different affects on each units movement range. Most weapons in the game will decay over time, and break after so many uses. Each unit in the game belongs to a specific class, each with their own general stats and weapons they can wield. Furthermore, each unit has a leveling system, in which they increase their level by gaining experience, which is gained through participating in battles. Each chapter ends when the player fulfills the specified "victory condition," which is most often "seize," in which the player navigates Marth to the designated seize square and selects the Seize option.
  • Tech: The game was made for the Nintendo DS, and utilizes both the top and bottom screen effectively, with the top screen used to display the map and each units' stats, and the bottom screen displaying the game as it is played.
  • Art: As a game based on medieval fantasy, the art and aesthetic of the game is bright and colorful. As the game is played on a large grid board, the units are all displayed as easily recognizable sprites according to their class. The player and enemy sprites are color coded blue and red, making it easy to distinguish who is who. The map terrain and backgrounds used during conversations between chapters look similar to painted landscapes. During most dialogue instances in the game, the characters are displayed much closer in full character art, with the dialogue displayed on the bottom of the screen. The music is generally sweeping and epic, with panicked, excited, happy, or sad tones according to the situation.
  • CRITIQUES: I'll admit that the story is not particularly complex or unique, but I feel it is worth mentioning that Shadow Dragon is a direct remake of the first Fire Emblem game, which was made back before games started getting more advanced storylines. Even so, I find the narrative enjoyable and reminiscent of old fairytales and myths (The only other gripe I had with the story was that the object called the Fire Emblem, the namesake of the entire series, ultimately served a narrative purpose only very tangentially connected to the plot, and was utilized by the player rather superficially. It graduates to a much more important status in later games, but it seems like a strange decision to make for the very first game in the series that introduces the damn thing) . Obviously, a turn based strategy game utilizing a large number of units lends itself extremely well to a story about military battles with opposing armies, and the leveling system and weapon decay added an element of long-term strategy. The tech, on the player's end, I felt was utilized well, and that's about all I can say about tech because I'm not a Computer Science major (I'm not even sure that how the game works on a DS has anything to do with tech.) The artistic choices made for the game I think also worked together very well.
The game is very good at balancing itself out. In each chapter, the player is only allowed typically about half the number of units afforded the enemy AI, and furthermore, the enemy army is often given reinforcements at certain points in the chapter. Their levels are typically around the same range as the player's. The advantages to the player, however, are that they often have better weapons, and the enemy AI is not very complex. While the player can act and move their units in any way they choose, the enemy AI often moves its units in a relatively uniform, predictable manner.

Interest Curve:
Another flaw that I'll admit to this game is that the interest curve moves a little slowly at first. About the first third of the game is used to introduce the player to new elements and ease them into utilizing them to their advantage, before compounding these elements in later chapters. As a turn based strategy game, it is already a much slower paced game, this abundance tutorial levels that are very forgiving and don't require as much forethought were a little bit of the turn off. But once the player moved out of these chapters and began to get into more complex strategy from a combination of the previously explained elements and less hand-holding, the game got much more engaging. The victory was much more dependent on exactly which units the player chose for each chapter, and some chapters scattered throughout the game were noticeably more difficult than others. The enemy units and reinforcements gradually increased in number with each turn, and eventually their enemy levels were often higher than most of the player units. Of course, the final chapter of the game had multiple enemies with higher levels and placed the player's units in a disadvantageous formation in the beginning.

Emergent Properties:
As far as individual player deviation from the developers intended actions, The multiple elements and rules added throughout the game allow for much variation of gameplay and strategy from player to player. The multitudes of classes within the game and leveling system creates vastly different armies, and therefore different strategic opportunities, that suites each individual player.

(WOW I wrote an entire essay on this I guess sorry about that.)

Game I Disliked: Jak 2 (Third person Action/ Platformer)

The Tetrad:

  • Story: Taking place soon after the end of the first Jak and Daxter game, Jak 2 is the story of Jak and Daxter, two friend who are suddenly hurled into an alternate dimension from their mystical island to a dystopian future city. Jak is taken away immediately and is experimented on for years due his ability to withstand dark energy or something (I don't remember this game very well because, again, didn't like it). Once Daxter FINALLY gets around to springing his best friend from his tortuous imprisonment years later, Jak, the protagonist, vows revenge on the people who kept him prisoner and goes about pursuing his revenge by joining a secret resistance against the tyrannical government, the leader of which was one of the perpetrators of his torture. I think their is also a looming threat of an alien attack, and the dark energy experiments allows Jak to occasionally go into a Dark Jak mode, and I think this has something to do with the reason why the aliens are advancing and why the leader of the dystopia was interested in him in the first place and the game kept winking at and nudging the player about Jak being the Chosen One about something, and I either don't know for sure because I don't remember or because, full disclosure, I never finished the game, though I got about 80% of the way through.
  • Mechanics: The game is a third person platformer with combat elements of both melee and shooter. The player is able to jump and double jump etc. The player can attack with a punch/ kick or can switch between multiple types of guns and shoot at enemies. The game is somewhat Open World, in which the players have certain multiple missions they can attend to as they please by navigating the large dsytopian city. The city can be navigated by automobiles within the game. When the player chooses to do a mission, they will go to the designated spot on the city map and enter a new area, which will have different conditions and different areas opened up depending of the mission. This can include enemies, bosses, and the occasional puzzle. There are also race missions and a hoverboard that can be used by the player.
  • Tech: I got the game as a download from the online store on my PS3, though I believe it was a PS2 game originally. Again, I'm not a Computer Science major, so I don't really know what to say about tech.
  • Art: As the game is set in a dystopian future with a dark storyline, much of the colors within the game, at least in the city and many of the mission areas, are dark greys, reds, and acidic yellows and greens. In contrast, one of the temples visited in the game have bright rich colors surrounded by healthy looking foliage. The music was often futuristic and industrial, except for, again, in the brightly colored temple, where the music was pleasant and calm.
  • CRITIQUES: The story was often disjointed and inconsistant, and took itself very seriously while still hanging on to some of the more kiddish quirks from its predicessor. The gameplay was difficult and didn't play well. The vehicles were often very difficult to control (NO BRAKES!) which was especially annoying since the player had to fly them around the crowded, narrow streets of the city much to large and labyrinthine for the player to walk around the entire time. I don't know if its because it was a PS2 game played on a PS3, but it glitched often. The art was nice, though.
The balance was good for the most part, though it infinitely harder about halfway through the game, with too many enemies for the player to be able to get through without frustration and constant restarts. (To the games credits, its totally possible I was just really bad at the game).

Interest Curve
The Game did have a story the developed overtime, and their was a little teaching for the player with each new element. But again, at some point the game suddenly became infinitely harder (again, I could just be terrible).

Emergent Properties:
None that I remember.

Sorry this is rushed, its 11:59 right now

This week I learned how to apply animations to characters for our game I'm working on learning how to make a punch animation.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

HUD Design

I had two HUD ideas, but they were both different layouts, so I just put them both on one screen.

The first idea I had was the staff on the far right side of the picture. The flame would brighten or weaken according to the player's health, and the gems along the staff would let the player know how many shards they have collected, assuming the player would only need to collect 5-10 or so shards throughout the game.The other idea I had was the more traditional health and magic gauge. The magic gauge is on the bottom, and how much magic you had would fill up the magic runes like a normal gauge. I would be all glowy, too! (please note, I made up those rune/symbols on the spot. They don't mean anything.) Above it would be the health gauge. For whatever reason, I decided to stick to the fire motif for health (maybe it could coincide with the mythology of the people on the island), but if we stuck to it, the flame would just go down like a normal gauge, but as it neared zero it could turn orange, to yellow, to blue, etc. The shard counter up top would be for if the player collected much more than the 5-10 range of shards throughout the game. I realize the two HUDs don't share every component, so the features could be mixed and matched as needed.
Blog Entry #5

This is my blueprint for a collectible item that, when picked up, disappears and causes the player to run faster.

here is the object floating in front of the character...

Aaaand its gone! I picked it up!

This blueprint can be used as a sort of speed power-up in the game, and I imagine it would be easy enough to make it another type of power-up as well, or even a health item.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Progress Video #1

Our first progress video can be found here.

Since our initial gameplay plan was submitted, we have found that the particular type of game is difficult to make with the tools provided in Unreal, and have decided to change our game to an open world, real time combat game in which we can take up certain missions around the city and choose which of the characters we want to bring with us according to the demands of each mission. This will be much easier to make with Unreal.

For the tetrad:
-despite the change in gameplay, the story will be the same, with an android waking to a zombie infested city that travels around, finds survivors, and teams up with them to eventually destroy the AI that released the virus.
-The art will be low poly, in an effort to bring the tone of the game down to something more light-hearted despite the subject matter of the game, though still with dark colors and gritty details. The android and AI will have generated speech and the speech boxes will look computer-y. The music will mostly be dark, electronic, with a moderate-to-fast tempo.
-since the our gameplay changed recently, we don't have much in the way of mechanics, but we are thinking a way to choose characters for each mission, a "safe house" to choose missions and change characters, mechanics to move around, attack, and interact with certain objects around the city.
-The technology will be the same. We will be using Blender, Makehuman and Unreal, mostly.

Team member contribution:
-As I am not familiar with computers to the extent that my teammates are, I am focusing mostly on the art and story aspect of the game. I have provided many character designs and try to provide as much input as possible when discussing the story and how we will integrate it to the gameplay. I also try to think about what music we can use, when we will need it and what kind of music we will need when.
-Kelly is also focusing on the art aspect of the game. She also provided many character designs and provides a lot of input on story and gameplay. She also suggested the alternative gameplay for our game when we realized our original idea would be too difficult.
-Thomas is focusing on level design and creating mechanics. He has provided input on gameplay and story as well.
-Abbie is also focusing on level design and creating mechanics. She also provides input on gameplay. The idea of an android finding survivors throughout a zombie-infested city was her original idea.
-we all searched for assets to use in our game in Blendswap and we are all also working on modeling a character in Blender using a Makehuman base.