Cycle 3 – Reflection – Joseph Koppe

On reflection I felt my skills matched the task of creating this game much better than the previous week.  I felt as though as the game designer I was given the opportunity to focus more on level design and game look and feel rather than coding.  As a developer I do need to work on my coding skills, as this has been my greatest hindrance throughout the course of the semester.  I’d also like to try in future to make my own textures to use within a game, as I feel it is something I would enjoy as well as being conducive to the game design component of my degree.

Communication within my team I felt had its ups and downs.  Sometimes I have difficulty understanding why people choose certain methods when we were prototyping our game, and this caused me to either recede in my opinion or speak louder.  I wish to take it upon myself to be open-minded about different ways and perspectives for doing things.  I feel as though as a team we get along really well inside and outside of the project, and for the most part we constructed this final product efficiently and cohesively.

I feel as though my work habits got progressively better during the semester, and I’m unsure if this will be reflected in my results, but I feel as though I understand the workload of building a game a lot better because of it.  I had originally put myself under more pressure to complete the games by leaving them a little too late.  In a sense I was still behind schedule, but I gave myself a much better timeframe in the latter projects.  I realised early on in the semester that the break in between 2016 and 2017 for university was too large and that it affected my productivity when I returned to it.  So in future I will find a means to be productive in between that break so that I can maintain a solid work ethic.  I think by the end of this semester though, I had gotten to the point where I could be very productive at will.

This game of the ones I have made I am most proud of, and I genuinely believe that it is worth playing insofar as receiving entertainment from it.  I would like to think that whoever would play my game, and understand my fledgling experience in making games, and the time frame and constraints we had – would be relatively impressed with it.  But perhaps I am saying this because I feel this way, and I certainly had fun playing it myself.

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Cycle 3 – Playtest Report – Joseph Koppe

In our playtest session, there were five people to make a playthrough of the game, in which each person would give verbal feedback on their overall thoughts on the game.  Our idea was to then interview the playtesters on four different questions, which would then hopefully relate back to our px goals and whether we had achieved them.

I’ll break them down to playtest response and post-playtest response, so for example:

Playtest Response:

  • (Person has the freedom to express any thoughts on the game)

Post-playtest response:

  • (How difficult/fun is the Platforming?)
  • (Did it take too long to progress?)
  • (Amount of falls?)
  • (How difficult/fun are the enemies?)

NB: Note taking was conducted by writing down notes in a word document on the group’s laptop.

I will also post some feedback I wrote down from observing the emotions and reactions of the players as they were playing the game, as seen directly below.

General Observational Feedback:

There were some core features I implemented into the game that revolved around seeing the surrounding environment and it’s objects with peripheral vision.  This was designed so that the player would have the curiosity to follow the paths, and see the keys before they could get to them.  Overall I did notice that the majority of players’ eyes were moving around the screen following and observing the level without knowing what was on the other side.  Players also frequently tried exploring different routes, and remembered what worked if and when they died.

Vincent Bornaghi:

Playtest Response:

  • Visual style is hit and miss
  • Fun and challenge is increased at a good pace

Post-Playtest:

  • Platforming is a good balance of precision and fun, while still being challenge enough for failed attempts.
  • The game went for longer than I expected
  • The Last Level made me fall a lot, otherwise not many falls.
  • Enemies vary the game from just platforming and sometimes add to its challenge

Dylan Van Beek:

Playtest Response:

  • Love the floating jump style
  • Controls well

Post-Playtest:

  • Platforming is a little on the easy side but I love the feel of the controls
  • The game felt about the right length
  • Fell once or twice, not too many issues.
  • Enemies are fine.

Aodhan Trusselle:

Playtest Response:

  • Game needs more visual polish
  • Maybe More variety of enemies

Post-Playtest:

  • Platforming is a good level of challenge I think, and is very fun.
  • Progression took a little longer than expected.
  • I fell a few times during the game, but it wasn’t too much or too little.
  • The enemies were fun but there was only one type. Would have liked to have seen more.

Rory Charlton:

Playtest Response:

  • The game is surprisingly fun, a good level of challenge.
  • Needs more enemy Variety.

Post-Playtest:

  • Platforming is difficult but rewarding.
  • It took me a fair while to make it through the game worlds.
  • I fell a lot on the last level and once or twice in the second.
  • Enemies are quite easy to deal with

Reuben Tham:

Playtest Response:

  • I think I’d like a game with more emphasis on mastery of skills
  • I like the aesthetic of the game

Post-Playtest:

  • Platforming is slightly challenging
  • The game doesn’t take too long to beat
  • I had to play carefully in the third level to avoid falling, but only fell a couple of times.
  • Finding and killing enemies is a good incentive to explore the worlds.

 

Final Recommendations:

From the feedback given to my game it seems as though the variety in response regarding the challenge and fun of the game was fluctuating between easy or hard, which sounds like it’s a balanced game overall.  There were comments made regarding more types of enemies, which is something I will definitely look into.  There were also comments on the visual style, and I think this is regarding the stretching of textures, which I will aim to fix as well.  People are also saying that the game goes for a little longer than expected, so I might also rebalance the difficulty of the third level.  Our Px Goals of experimenting, analysing and remembering were indirectly addressed in the question, where we have assumed that remembering, analysing and experimenting successfully will assist the player in completing the game. (and observational feedback suggested that players were using peripheral vision to traverse the environment as well as experimenting by taking different routes).

Cycle 3 – Activity 5 – Interactivity and Choice

This week we broke down the levels into the challenges they would encompass based off of our player stories.  We felt it was important to try and capture the gameplay and flow of our game by concisely defining the core mechanics in different parts of the game.  Below is the Hierarchy of goals that we created.Activity 5From these goals, we then identified which of the players’ skills would be used to complete the challenge.  We completed this for five of the goals, and we wanted to highlight some of the skills and playstyles that would benefit a player of this game.

Game Challenges:

2.

Goal – Fight and Climb your way to the end of the level

Challenge – Use accuracy and precision to fight and jump to platforms.

4.

Goal – Fight the Final Boss to complete the Game

Challenge – Use Speed and Reactions to defeat the Final Boss.

Challenge 2.

  • The player is given the choice of being tactful, and killing each enemy one by one while navigating the level – or, they can choose to challenge themselves by ignoring or fighting many enemies to find the key that will let them progress through that world.
  • The player is given instructions on the overall goal of finding the key, and that using your sword and jumping are your tools to get there.
  • Depending on the choice, the player will choose to jump and avoid enemies and reaching a safe place on the map – or, they can swing their sword and damage enemies and tactfully remove any threat.
  • When an enemy is hit with the sword the game will reduce its health incrementally until it takes enough hits to die. If a player is navigating the level by jumping on platforms the game will detect the surface the player is jumping on to and the player will stay firmly on the platform.
  • The player is notified of an enemy being hit by the enemy being knocked backwards slightly by each hit. The player character will also make a landing sound when they have jumped and successfully landed on a platform.

Challenge 4.

  • In the game the boss has an attack animation with some recovery time. The player has the choice of playing it safe and getting one good shot in before the boss recovers and continues fighting – or, they may choose to play with more risk and try and get a few shots in to maximise damage; but maybe the boss will hit them.
  • The player isn’t given a prompt to make a choice between these two things from the user interface. It is something that the player must decide when they have observed the attack pattern of the boss.
  • For a quick single hit the player will tactfully time their attack and press the ‘f’ button once to get a good hit in. If the player wants to go for a lot of damage, they will press ‘f’ rapidly to get in as many attacks as possible.
  • The game rules dictate the boss will take approximately 1 second to recover from their attack, and the boss will be depicted as being defenceless so that the player can swing their sword to inflict a small amount of damage.
  • The boss will slowly withdraw his weapon in an animation that will be obvious to the player. The player is notified of a successful hit on the boss by knocking the boss back slightly, and with a sound.

We then finally got around to creating a beautiful storyboard for you fine tutors to observe and visualise the magnificence of what our game will be.  We chose Player Challenge two because we felt it captured the core gameplay mechanics very well.  StoryBoard

Cycle 3 – Activity 3 – Gameplay and Player Stories

During week 2 of cycle 3, you (yes you!) the tutor gave us the task of writing down the experiences of the player, based off of our player experience goals.  We wanted our player to be in a game world of adventure and danger, with the right blend of exploration, platforming and combat challenges.

Player Concept Statement:

The goal of each level is to find a key, which unlocks the door to the next level.  The overall goal of the game is to complete the four levels in order to take back your staff which was stolen. The player must navigate and explore a European castle setting, and the player must navigate the levels by defeating enemies with their sword and completing the platforming challenges. There are traps, dangerous creatures and platforming obstacles in the player’s path. 

We then wrote down the player experiences as stories, to try and capture some of the specific moments the player would encounter during the game.  We felt it was important to reinforce the driving factor of recovering a very important item that was stolen from you within these stories.  Who doesn’t love some revenge…

Player Stories:

  1. “As a peasant, I want my treasure to be returned to me so I can once again own my artefact.”
  2. “As an owner of an artefact, I want my boots to support my jumping so I can jump over obstacles and traverse the world.”
  3. “As a civilian of the village, I want to use my sword to defeat enemies and progress through the world.”
  4. “As a player I wish to explore the game world to find fragments to open the door to the next level.”
  5. “As a knight I will use my sword to assist me in finding the person who stole my artefact so I can recover it.”
  6. “As a player I want my evil mate to die so I can recover my artefact.”
  7. “As a player I will gather fragments so I can travel the world to find my staff.”
  8. “As a sorcerer, I will find my staff by tracking down the thief.”
  9. “As a prince, I will recover health packs so that I can survive through the worlds.”
  10. “As a player, I want to cut down any obstacle to find my lost items.”

From the player stories we then broke down how the player would be motivated from these experiences, by analyzing our target audience of Bob, and reaffirming why we think he would love this game based on its challenges.

We believe Bob plays games for a sense of exhilaration and escapism, and in player story 5, the player is depicted as a Knight who must cut down enemies and recover precious artefacts and in this way will appeal to his desire for adventure and escapism.  This will tap into the motivational factors of speed and surprise, which Bob should enjoy based off of his love of Warcraft and StarCraft.

Bob also typically plays games that require a high level of mastery to succeed in the game.  In this way, Player story 2 identifies that the player will need to overcome platforming challenges to traverse the world, which will appeal to bob’s sense of mastery.  This will convey the player experience goals of agility and reflexes, which bob will love because he currently plays FIFA.

Bob would also look for Collecting and gathering resources.  In player story 7, the player is tasked to track down key fragments so that they can progress through the game world. which should appeal to Bob’s sense of resource management.  This will emphasize the player experience goals of interpreting and analyzing, which Bob should appreciate because of his Doom and StarCraft.

Cycle 2 – Joseph Koppe – Playtest Report

The playtest plan was formulated so that the 3 factors of entertainment, challenge and intensity were queried by the playtesters. As a preface to the comments, ratings and suggestions below, the state of my game was playable, but lacking a success/failure condition in the way of a score or time limit.  The core mechanics of how the game and looks and feels are there. Below is the recorded ratings and comments of each of these factors, as well as suggestions for where the game could develop further.

Vincent Bornaghi:

  • “The entertainment value of the game is there, and has a crude sense of charm to it that made it enjoyable” 8/10
  • “The challenge level is currently missing as the game doesn’t have a set objective yet.  I am told that it will be a high score system with an allotted time. Navigation of the world is easy.” 2/10
  • “The pacing of the game is a little but off, the world feels fractionally too big to navigate, and for that reason it is difficult to see where you need to go.  I can’t comment on intensity because of the lack of game rules.” 6/10
  • “My final recommendation is in addition to adding game rules, make the world smaller or the player faster, introduce boundaries, make the car sounds a little more smooth, maybe even add music.” 

Dylan Van Beek:

  • “The game is very enjoyable, the controls and movement feel good and the world nice to explore and look at.” 9/10
  • “As Vincent mentioned, the challenge level is un-testable at this point as game rules and parameters have not been set.  There are no unintentional challenges in control and design that hold this game back though.” 5/10
  • “The pacing and intensity of the game is consistent.  I’m visualising the high score time attack mechanic and it sounds as if pressure and speed will increase as the game goes on.” 6/10
  • “My final recommendation aside from what Vincent mentioned is consider making the player move more quickly – I think the world is too big/hidden to efficiently find passengers to pick up.”

Taking there feedback I decided to make a plan for further improvement from the game.

Additional Features:

  • Aside from the features I had told them I was putting in, I agreed with Dylan’s idea of making the car faster.
  • Making the car sounds more pleasant and realistic (they are currently both irritating, but humorous?)
  • Making a visual boundary is something I will hopefully be able to implement when I get time – but I feel as though the world is layed out so that the player has no reason to drive off of the edge (perhaps only to satiate curiosity).

Planned Features:

  • Create a score system
  • Create a time limit
  • Create spawning pedestrians
  • Create a destination to take the passengers

Cycle 2 – Joseph Koppe – Reflection

While reflecting about my experiences while I was creating the second game, I felt more comfortable within this task.  I felt as though I enjoyed this task thoroughly compared to mini-game one, and for that reason I feel my skills within unity have improved significantly.  I feel as though I still have a significant limitation in programming for video games, but I genuinely get a lift out of modelling objects and landscape.  This task really helped put things into perspective with my degree, as I was discouraged in creating games from mini-game 1 – so much so that I considered seeking counselling and switching degrees.  I still have more internal questions regarding how games are made, such as creating a texture and the hidden layers within unity.  And I believe that I will have more learning obstacles and mistakes that will let me understand and grow in my ability to make a game.

I learnt about some of the applications of the other majors in the degree – particularly regarding how modelling through blender actually comes into fruition with the unity engine.  Coincidentally I am taking an animation subject simultaneously; which has allowed me to put a bit of effort into modelling some objects within my game.  I haven’t learnt enough about programming to be confident in writing my own scripts with ease, and I generally seek advice from my teammates and online whenever I can.   I think although my teammates and I have completed a lot of the same subjects, our interests in particular areas are spurring the development process by using each other’s skills.

In my individual work I created a model for the buildings that populated my game world.  It was very satisfying to see something you had sculpted in a different piece of software and place it into unity and use it as an asset.  The entire process of creating and designing a game world was incredibly enjoyable and something that I will look forward to in the future.  I felt as though this helped me put my original plans and beliefs with my university degree into perspective, and proved amongst other things that my intuition about what work I enjoy is correct.

During this task we were asked to choose a news article as inspiration for our game.  I think while there are ethical issues regarding creating content that is based on recent events, our game is fine because it isn’t trying to emulate that specific moment in time – the subject matter was taken, obscured and gamified enough to the extent that we don’t attribute it to the original topic, let alone people that it would potentially offend.  But for the most part I think making light of a recent tragedy must be done very tactfully, and it shouldn’t offend the majority of the people who play it.

Cycle 2 – Activity 4 – Objects and Rules

At this point in the development process, as a team we shared a vision of our game in terms of aesthetic, gameplay mechanics and overall theme.  Below I have included our table of objects and rules, which defines the different objects in the game that can interact with the player in some way.  This has particularly helped us in envisaging the challenges and the flow of the game.

Screenshot object table