Cycle 1 – Dylan Van Beek – Prototype

IGB100 Prototype SHMUP

Play as a submarine traversing the ocean floor, using WASD to control and “SPACE” to shoot.  Survive for as long as you can to get a high score.

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Cycle 1 – Dylan Van Beek – Play testing Report

Playtesting was completed by following the goals outlined in Activity 6: Playtesting.  From this it was decided to playtest the game a script would be spoken to each participant before the game was tested.  This was just to allow the play tester to understand what was expected of them.  Below is the script:

I have some test instructions to read to you. You’re one of several people who will be helping us out on this test and since it’s important that I cover all the same points with each person, I’ll read through this so I’m sure I present everything to everyone in the same way.

The test today should last about 15 minutes and you can take a break or leave at any time. If you would like to take a break, or just want to stop –just let me know.

It is important to remember that we are evaluating our game, not you. You cannot make any mistakes here today. If you have any difficulty with any part of any task, it’s very important to us and it will give us clues on how to improve future versions of the game.

Also, please be completely frank and outspoken about any opinion or problem you have.

During this evaluation, one of the most important and interesting things for me to capture is what you think about as you do the tasks we give you.

  • To do this, I’m going to ask you to THINK ALOUD as you work
  • What I mean by “think aloud” is that I want you to tell me EVERYTHING you are thinking, why you are pressing each button, and everything you are doing and thinking from the time we start the evaluation until I ask you to complete the last survey
  • I would like you to talk constantly
  • I don’t want you to plan what you’re going to say or try to explain to me what you are saying
  • Just act as if you were alone in this room speaking to yourself
  • If you are silent for a long period, I’ll prompt you to think aloud.

Since thinking aloud is often unusual for people to do, I’d like you to practice thinking aloud. I’d like you to tell me how many windows there are in the place you live, but to think aloud while you are working out this number.

Let’s have you start the test. Pretend that you are at home, and you just downloaded this game. From this point, just do what comes naturally to you, and remember to always think aloud.

After the script was read the players thoughts were recorded via note taking.  These notes were as follows:

Play Tester 1: Vincent Bornaghi

  • Easy to understand what is happening
  • Not so much reflexes used
  • Enjoyed the dazzling visual effects
  • Silly bullets he liked
  • Analysis required because of fast power up speed

Play Tester 2: Joseph Koppe

  • Was intuitive and easy to get the hang of what’s happening
  • Still had the level of difficulty
  • Liked how the explosion affected the fish
  • Wondered if the fish could have been animated to allow for a better visual effect
  • Power up speed was quick

Play Tester 3: Ty Jones

  • Liked how the explosion affected the fish
  • Found it frustrating when the power ups went astray
  • Enjoyed the aesthetic
  • Enjoyed playing thought it was fun

Play Tester 4: Sam Parer

  • Liked how the explosion affected the fish
  • Thought sometimes the power up wasn’t as beneficial as he could be more precise
  • Didn’t like the idea too much of destroying fish. Thought it wasn’t as good for the environment
  • Thought the playstyle was fun and enjoyable

Play Tester 5: Jordan Brook

  • Thought it was above the earth until the fish started appearing
  • Thought the difficulty should increase in future iterations of the game
  • Thought perhaps adding in if the fish were destroyed then add points to the score

Once these notes were recorded the play testers were asked to complete a short survey which correlated to our Activity 6: Playtesting.  This would mean we could test our playtesting as well as text our goals for playtesting.  The following survey/survey results was obtained.

Thank you for testing this game. Please answer these questions as accurately as you can.

For each of the following statements, please rate 1 to 5, 1 being strongly disagree, 5 being strongly agree.

  1. The game was easy to learn how to play.
    1. Vincent:5
    2. Joseph:5
    3. Ty:5
    4. Sam:4
    5. Jordan:5
  2. The game was fun to play.
    1. Vincent:4
    2. Joseph:4
    3. Ty:5
    4. Sam:5
    5. Jordan:3
  3. The game was frustratingly difficult.
    1. Vincent:2
    2. Joseph:2
    3. Ty:1
    4. Sam:3
    5. Jordan:2
  4. The game was boringly easy.
    1. Vincent:2
    2. Joseph:3
    3. Ty:2
    4. Sam:2
    5. Jordan:3
  5. The game’s controls made it easy to do what I wanted.
    1. Vincent:4
    2. Joseph:5
    3. Ty:5
    4. Sam:4
    5. Jordan:5
  6. The game’s visuals were enjoyable to look at.
    1. Vincent:3
    2. Joseph:3
    3. Ty:3
    4. Sam:2
    5. Jordan:3
  7. I always understood what I should do next to achieve my goal.
    1. Vincent:4
    2. Joseph:4
    3. Ty:5
    4. Sam:4
    5. Jordan:3
  8. I would be interested in playing this game again.
    1. Vincent:4
    2. Joseph:3
    3. Ty:5
    4. Sam:5
    5. Jordan:3

Finally, please rank the items in the following list. Put the number 1 next to the aspect which you consider the most well done in this game. Then put a 2 next to the aspect which you consider the next most well done aspect of the game. Continue the numbering in order of how well each aspect was done. Put the highest number next to the aspect which you consider the least well done in this game. Please use each number only once in the list.

Vincent Joseph Ty Sam Jordan
Controls 4 1 1 1 1
Enemies 3 3 4 2 2
Gameplay 1 2 3 5 3
Visuals 5 4 2 3 4
My Character 4 5 5 4 5

Cycle 1 – Dylan Van Beek– Reflection

During the process of this task, there were many skills which had to be learnt in order to get the desired outcome.  This mainly consisted of some coding aspects which were necessary in order to make the game run as anticipated.  However, I did already have knowledge in the coding language, as well as some experience in unity, so additional skills were relatively easy to learn.  This knowledge was vastly obtained by online searches and tutorials. In terms of game design, with the combination of team mates and my knowledge, as well as the learning objectives taught in the workshops and tutorials it is believed that this style of game is effective for the task.  Lots of questions were raised in the development process, however, it is believed that most of them are answered with the design of this game. Overall, the activity provided an adequate challenge and felt rewarding when completed, hence confirming my enjoyment for game design.

As team members were cooperative and willing to change/adapt and converge/diverge ideas as they came from other members, teamwork was fluid and flowed smoothly.  Collaborative work was mostly completed in workshops, and the establishment of communication allowed for outer and further collaboration.  It is believed all members performed their tasks, and we mingled quite well.  All feedback from every member was considered, and responses to feedback if it didn’t work was explained so that all members were on board with what was happening.

As I am interested in game design, I found it very easy to stay motivated to complete tasks and prototypes.  In team scenarios, individual work was found to be balanced evenly between members and mostly completed in workshops, with some small completion work being done in my spare time.  The main challenges in this aspect was trying to organise WordPress as well as some coding aspects of unity.  In the face of these challenges, the main resolution was to turn to an online source of information to be able to figure out these problems.  This proved to be a reliable source of information and helped me through this.

As this style of game does not have much of a narrative aspect to it, the personal impacts this game may have on players isn’t as large as one with a heavily focused story.  However, if the game was to be continued further, there would be a small introductory scene that lets the players know why they are destroying fish, or, if that causes too much controversy, change the fish models to perhaps a pile of garbage for a more environmental message.

Cycle 1 – Vincent Bornaghi – Reflection

Professional Development and Practice

This assessment was the first time I’ve ever dabbled into the world of Game Design. I came into this unit with absolutely no C# knowledge and no Unity knowledge so this has been an interesting task. However, I found Unity really simple to use and being a fast learner I adapted quite quickly. I made a few test games and found the IGB100 Practicals really useful especially from an ‘I know nothing’ point of view. Learning C# was fairly confusing at first, there are still some aspects I don’t understand. The ‘NullReferenceException’ error has been the bane of my existence for the past month. I still don’t know how to resolve that one!

On the other hand, I have about 7 years of graphic design and modelling knowledge and I have an animation unit to undertake this semester that utilises Blender. So, I took this game as an opportunity to practice using Blender and make my own 3D assets, being a bit ambitious however I found that I was spending more time making models than I was making the game so I had to realign my focus. Making sprites for the UI was also a simple process, I was able to throw together a simple but clean design in no time.

I’d love to learn some more C#, especially the grey areas that I don’t quite understand yet. There were a number of things I would’ve liked to implement into my game, the main one being a High Score system that saves the current score upon death, but I was unable to do because I just didn’t possess the knowledge to. I really enjoyed making this game and I think I’m going to continue to develop it in future, as I think it would be a good platform to continue learning.

Working in a Team

As team, we worked really well. Dylan, Joseph and I struggled a bit with how the IGB100 group system works at the start of the cycle but the tutors soon managed to clarify things a bit for us. Once we knew what we wanted to do we quickly fleshed out the core concepts we wanted for our games. While we initially started without Dylan, we still worked well together and got along quite well too. I look forward to working with them again for the next two cycles.

Working Independently

I’ve always worked better alone and this assessment was no different. I tend to dread any sort of group work but working together to develop key concepts and then working on them by myself and being able to develop my own vision for those concepts was really rewarding. Learning Unity and C# from zero has also been a great experience, I’ve discovered a really helpful community and a hobby I never thought I’d like. Always had a distaste for programming!

Ethical Considerations

There were no major ethical issues to consider when developing this game. Possible epilepsy triggers may be an issue but I don’t think anything in my game is really crazy enough to be a trigger. The game is otherwise just a bit of fun that anyone could pick up for a few minutes and enjoy.

Vincent Bornaghi – N9463020

Cycle 1 – Vincent Bornaghi – Game Prototype Submission

SHMUP Prototype Download Link:

v0.91 Completed Build Prototype Submission for IGB100

Instructions are included in the Launch Menu but can be found below as well.

I hope you enjoy!

Controls

  • Movement
    • W A S D
  • Shoot
    • SPACEBAR
  • Pause
    • Escape
      • Resume to resume game
      • Restart to restart game
      • Quit to exit application
      • Credits to view contributions

UI

  • Health Bar
    • Health starts and has a maximum of 100
    • The bar will update immediately if damage is taken or a health boost is picked up
  • Score
    • Score will update with every enemy destroyed
  • High Score
    • Functions like the score, save system not implemented as of v0.91

Game World

  • Enemies
    • Deal damage to player on contact then self-destruct
    • Must be killed using player projectiles
  • Health Boosts
    • Player needs only come in contact for the health boost to be applied

SHMUP Build Files will be accessible here if needed. All contents are property of Vincent Bornaghi unless stated otherwise. Prototype provided was working at time of testing so these files should not be neccessary.

Vincent Bornaghi – N9463020

Cycle 1 – Vincent Bornaghi – Playtest Report

How enjoyable was the experience?

Yes, all playtesters really enjoyed playing. Their verbal feedback while playing was positive and the post-playthrough interviews revealed that the game was both fun and enjoyable. This appears to be largely in part to the fast-paced nature of the game which kept them engaged.

How well do the mechanics work (during playthrough)?

The movement works well, the player is able to avoid the enemies in order to get into a better position. The enemies can easily overwhelm the player if they are not killed before long however. No issues or bugs were identified with the mechanics themselves.

How well do the mechanics work (post-playthrough)?

The shooting mechanic was well made, restrictive enough to not be overpowered but also still capable enough to destroy enemies in order to survive. The spawn rates could be adjusted, sometimes the enemies overwhelm the player but sometimes the game world is clear of enemies for seconds at a time.

How does the game challenge you?

The fast-paced nature of the game was definitely the biggest challenging factor for the players. The speed PX Goal was met with flying colours however the reflexes of players were not tested as much. The unanimous opinion is that the game tested their ability to analyse and make a strategy quickly more than it relied on their reflexes. Joseph in particular identified how he was more preoccupied with avoiding enemies to not lose health than he was with destroying them. The enemies also continued to deal damage to the player whenever in contact, playtesters did not like this and expressed their wishes for the enemies to be destroyed on contact. All playtesters remarked that a score system being implemented would benefit the game greatly.

What strategy was best used for a successful playthrough?

The generally used strategy was analysing the enemies and how they spawned into the game world. Some players noticed patterns and adjusted their position in-game accordingly. Others focused on getting out of the way and getting the enemies before they came too close.

The below image shows some of the notes taken during the playtesting session for some of the playtesters.

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Pros

  • Enjoyable
  • Fun
  • Professional-looking UI
  • Good looking game
  • Functional Pause Menu
  • Fast-paced action
  • In-game music
  • Health power ups are neccessary and useful

Cons

  • Difficult level varies rapidly
  • No restart function in Pause Menu
  • No score system or high score system
  • Have to restart game.exe in order to replay after death
  • Enemy spawn rates are sporadic
  • Enemies continue to deal damage to player on contact until destroyed by a projectile

Recommendations

  • Implement a score system
  • Functional restart function in the Pause Menu
  • Increase the HP of the player or decrease damage dealt
  • Adjust spawn rates
  • Different variations of enemies
  • Destroy enemies on contact with player

Based on these recommendations and analysing the pros and cons that each playtester mentioned I made a number of improvements to the game.

  • Implemented a score system, where smaller, weaker enemies are worth the least and the harder to kill enemies are worth more.
  • Implemented a restart function into the Pause Menu and bringing up the Pause Menu upon death without needing to restart the .exe.
  • Adjusted spawn rates and added two more variations of the enemies to make up for it. Players should rarely find themselves without something to shoot at now.
  • Changed the enemies to deal damage to the player once on contact and then self-destruct, thus eliminating the need to adjust damage or health values.

Further Recommendations

  • High score system that saves the highest score after death and when restarting the game itself
  • Weapon power-ups to increase damage or projectile numbers
  • More progressive and less random enemy difficulty

I would like to implement these recommendations should I continue to work on the game past the constraints of time place upon this assessment.

Vincent Bornaghi – N9463020