Cycle 3 – Activity 4 – Mechanics, Objects and Rules

Using the player stories from Activity 3, think about fundamental mechanics of game play

Fundamental mechanics

Physics

It’s a platformer where the player can move left, right and jump as well as swing their sword to fight enemies

Unreal gravity is applied to make the player fall and fall when jump with inaccurate jumping height for more fun

Economy

Keys that are needed to be collected to unlock the door to the next level

Very simple economy, manage health

Health packs at random locations to restore some health to the player

Customization on equipment for different swords.  Modifications statistic wise would include: range, power, speed.  More of a triangle scheme to make the player able to make choices depending on their preferred play style.  (This might not be able to be implemented in this version of the game, but would be implemented in later iterations)

Progression

There are set levels that the player must traverse through

Enemies provide a challenge with risk of death

Player is inclined to play through the levels to complete the predetermined storyline

Keys are used to unlock the door to the next level

Tactical manoeuvring

Positioning at a distance where the player can hit the enemy but the enemy can’t hit the player

 

Player stories

Provide example mechanics for 5 player stories

“As an owner of an artifact, I want my boots to support my jumping so I can jump over obstacles and traverse the world.”

The space bar is used to elevate the player in the air a set amount to stimulate jumping

As a civilian of the village, I want to use my sword to defeat enemies and progress through the world.”

The ‘f’ key is used to swing your sword to simulate simple fighting physics

“As a player I wish to explore the game world to find fragments to open the door to the next level.”

Progress through the levels by collecting keys that are in the level

“As a prince, I will recover health packs so that I can survive through the worlds.”

Collect health packs to enable the player to stay alive for longer and progress through the level

“As a knight I will use my sword to assist me in finding the person who stole my artifact so I can recover it.”

e.g. using the sword to defeat enemies and progress through the story to get to the end

Game Objects and Rules

Objects Attributes of Object Player interaction Relationship Between objects Rules and events
Player Object that holds the camera and allows the user to interact with the world The user can move this character along the XY axis Environment – Determines where the player goes

Enemies – Player swings sword to damage enemies

Sword – player holds sword and can use sword

Health packs – Player can collect health packs to regain missing health

Keys – Player must collect keys to unlock exit trigger door

Exit Trigger – if all enemies defeated and key collected, player can progress to next level

Player is controlled by WASD, uses F to swing sword and space bar to jump
Player Weapon Weapon can damage enemies Player can swing weapon Weapon will damage enemies Weapon is used by player swinging sword (Pressing F)
Environment Allows player to traverse levels Player has collisions with environment Health packs are in levels/environment

 

Enemies traverse environment

 

Player walks around environment

 No object can pass through environment
Enemy 1 Standard enemy Will cause standard damage to the player and can be destroyed with one hit Traverses left and right along ‘ground’ between two points, attacking the player if they come in range Deals 10 damage to player

Takes one hit to kill

Enemy 2 Heavy Enemy Will move and attack slower than the standard enemy but will deal twice as much damage and be twice as hard to kill Traverses left and right along ‘ground’ between two points, attacking the player if they come in range Deals 20 damage to player

Takes two hits to kill

Moves twice as slow as standard enemy

Is twice as large as standard enemy

Boss Boss Enemy Moves faster than regular enemies Traverses randomly around course Takes five hits to kill

Moves twice as fast as regular enemies

Deals 20 damage per hit

Key Once collected by player, player can progress to next level Collision with player means player collects the key Key cannot pass through level Collision with player will unlock next level
Platforms Used by player to traverse map Players will not be able to pass through platforms Enemies will not be able to pass through platforms Cannot be passed through by players
Exit Trigger Used by player to progress to the next level Player uses this to progress to net level Only the player can interact with the trigger Collision with trigger while conditions met means that player will progress to the next level
Health Packs Regains health of the player Restores player health Cannot pass through environment Collision with the player will mean that the player will restore missing health
Spring Bounces the player higher if jumped on Player moves higher when jumped on An immovable set object Collision with the player when the player is jumping will result in increased jump height

 

Playing with objects and rules

  • Change attributes, modify interactions and adjust rules
    • Increased Jump height
    • Increased walking speed
    • Increased enemy damage
    • Tweaking player range
  • Try to get a feel for the consequences of these changes
    • Some consequences were good, others made the game unbearable
    • A good balance between fun and frustratingly difficult was aimed for

Future iterations

In future iterations it was discussed and believed to be ideal if the player could switch weapons to suit their play style(such as a faster sword that does more damage, or a slower sword that is more powerful), as well as perhaps a ranged weapon and ranged enemies.  Furthermore, power ups and abilities such as wall climbing or double jump could be iterated in future levels to allow for more world exploration and a greater range of challenges and puzzles

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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 3 – Activity 2 – Game Look and Feel

This week we decided that we would be further developing our ‘Stolen Artefact’ game idea and thus began the process of envisioning the style we wanted to aim for. We’ve decided to go with a realistic, medieval and fantasy type of ‘look and feel’. The following article ‘https://www.quora.com/Why-are-so-many-epic-fantasies-set-in-a-medieval-setting‘, explores how medieval and fantasy go so well together and why this mix of themes has resulted in so many ‘epic’ games over the years. A lot of credit can be given to J.R.R Tolkein’s ‘Lord of the Rings’, and to share such a theme with a the incredible world Tolkein created means that we must be doing something right! The following mood-board depicts this theme that we want and certain references that we have taken inspiration from. A colour palette has also been included of our focus colours, pulled from these reference images.

moodboard.png

Image Sources (Left to right, top to bottom)

We took our inspiration from the images in the above mood board and games such as WarCraft III, The Elder Scrolls Online, Trine 2 and Kingdom Come Deliverance. The fundamental shape structures of our game are squares, triangles, and sharp angles. We want to the environment to be defined in a strong way and to assert a certain dominance over the player. We’re staying from circles and round objects/structures as we want to stay away from any cute or peaceful ideas. These strong, straight shapes promote aggression which suits our overall revenge theme, we want players to be invested into the story through the environment as well.

A game’s ‘look and feel’ is absolutely crucial in conveying the game’s overarching theme to a player. In the linked article, Viktor Antonov, the art director behind Bethesda’s successful new 2012 IP, Dishonored, describes how the art of Dishonored helps shape the feel of the game and support the story (http://www.gameinformer.com/b/features/archive/2011/07/20/the-look-and-feel-of-dishonored.aspx).

We believe that through the use of such shape structures and by sticking to the style and colouring of the above mood board, our target audience, Bob, will be able to accurately interpret the ‘look and feel’ we are going for in our games. As a player of similar medieval fantasy games, such as WarCraft and even darker games such as Doom, which suit our revenge theme, Bob will easily recognise the style of game and be drawn into it. We believe Bob will respond positively to our aggressive styling and feel more invested in the story because of it’s supporting environment.

Our game requires ‘2.5’ dimensions, in that it’s a fundamentally 2 dimensional game (left, right, up, down) that is played within a 3 dimensional world. So the third dimension, or in this case the half dimension, can be seen as part of the environment but cannot be interacted with or accessed. The world will be bound to the constraints of the levels themselves, be that the city wall in a city level, the inside of a building, or two destinations on the countryside.

The game is set in Medieval Europe, a period which spans between the 5th and 15th Centuries and will be realistic with the exception of ‘realistic’ fantasy elements such as magic. Levels will take place both indoors and outdoors with settings such as villages, castles and rolling countrysides. Game world objects will be realistic as will the NPCs inhabiting the world, which take the form of ordinary humans, no other races are present.

Sounds present in the game will reflect the mood and setting, with ‘medieval sounds’ such as from the following;

being used to create atmosphere. Recorded sounds from reenacted battles or period-correct equipment could also be used to boost realism.

Vincent Bornaghi, N9463020

Cycle 3 – Activity 1 – PX Goals

Before developing the PX Goals for our final game, a side scroller, we looked into some examples of side scrolling games that have been made throughout the years. The subsequent PX Goals we decided were the most obvious for each game can be found below.

This War of Mine

  • Sadness
  • Visual Processing
  • Experimenting
  • Questioning

Sheltered

  • Social Perspectives
  • Balance
  • Experimenting
  • Analysing

Valiant Hearts: The Great War

  • Visual Processing
  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • Remembering

These three games are each very different; This War of  Mine is very much a game built around a theme of sadness and desperation, forcing players to anticipate and experiment for the best outcome. Sheltered is a more linear survival game with social aspects throw in and a lot of resource micro-management. Valiant Hearts takes yet another perspective and hits right at the player’s emotions through strong visuals and deep story.

Now based upon our target audience, ‘Bob’, who likes many RTS and action packed games, and our overarching theme of ‘Betrayal & Revenge’, we decided upon the following shortlist of PX Goals;

Analysing, Stamina, Experimenting, Remembering, Visual Processing

Based on this shortlist we further developed two basic game ideas (these will be posted in Studio Work) from our earlier brainstorming.

Stolen Artefact

A close friend steals a powerful artefact in your possession after being entrusted with its secret. This ‘friend’ gives the object to your enemy, meaning you must recover it and exact revenge.

Space Escape

Your ship is blowing up and your crew member betrays you by deploying the last escape pods before you can board them. Escape the wrecking ship and find your former crew member.

After deciding that we wanted to progress further into developing the ‘stolen artefact’ idea, we further narrowed down our shortlist of PX goals to be the following;

Analysing

Experimenting

Remembering

We want the players to analyse the game world for different ways to progress and be rewarded as well as experiment with the world and the objects in it. In the same respect we want players to remember game mechanics and game world elements, perhaps in the form of puzzles where it is key to remember what one did in order to progress if you have died and need to redo it. The game will be going at a slower pace than our previous two games, thus allowing us to really focus on these goals and providing the richest experience for the player in these respects.

These PX Goals focus on the Cognitive aspects of the player experience, thus challenging the players to learn as they progress, be able to analyse the environment and make appropriate decisions.

Cycle 2 – Vincent Bornaghi – Reflection

Professional Development and Practice

This second game provided another opportunity for me to learn more about Unity and the quirks of programming. Ironically I believe I actually had a headstart for this Cycle, the focus appeared to be more on the art side of things, making functional UI’s and what not. These are all things that I either do normally (3D modelling being my side hobby), or had done in the previous Cycle in order to test myself. As such I was able to reuse a lot of my previous assets for this game and tweak them slightly to better suit this style of game.

And the style of game was similar the old ‘Crazy Taxi’ game on the Nintendo GameCube. A game that my brother and I spent many, many hours on and had countless moments of fun. 15 years ago I never could have imagined that I’d be attempting to MAKE my own twist on this classic game. Because of my history with the game, I was really enthusiastic coming into this assessment and had grand ideas for my game. However I soon discovered it would not be a piece of cake.

I attempted to create everything I needed for a functional game from scratch and soon realised that this was far beyond my skillset. Being the type of person I am, I tried every reasonable avenue before having to resort to using 3rd party assets from Unity, the Asset Store or elsewhere. Unfortunately this was my biggest downfall for this Cycle. Because of my lack of ability in being able to create complex things such as a realistic vehicle controller, I wasted so much time getting around it that at the end of it all; I had no time for anything else. Most of the 3D models that I would have normally created, I had to use from 3rd party sources because I simply could not do everything that I wished to do if I didn’t. From this aspect I’m quite disappointed about this and wish I had spent more time one what I knew I could do and not what I didn’t.

What Have I Learnt About the Other Majors?

This cycle is further pushing me away from my old mindset of ‘programming is awful and I hate it’. One could hardly say that programming is fun, but I find the logic enjoyable, if somewhat frustrating at times. However I would never even consider changing majors from animation to programming. I’ve always enjoyed games design, it was quite a decision for me to chose animation over that, so delving into it to create these games is a really nice experience. Conceptualising and creating a game world for example is something that I’ve discovered that I love doing… maybe a bit too much considering the amount of time I spent on it!

Working Independently

I managed to improve over the last cycle in terms of programming quite substantially. There were still some things I wish that I’d completed for my game, these weren’t finished mainly due to my poor time-management, but overall I encountered virtually 0 errors in my work. I had an easy time solving the few issues that came up and spent no time whatsoever browsing forums for aid. This newfound ability to be able to resolve programming problems was really satisfying and makes me look forward to the next cycle, and hopefully expanding my skillset.

Ethical Considerations

There is one small ethical issue in my game that takes place around the central theme that is ‘natural disaster’. This could cause issues with disaster victims who have been traumatised by such events. However a simple warning, or more detailed introduction, would suffice as a warning for such potential issues. Some minor motion sickness could also occur from the rapid, first-person movement.

Vincent Bornaghi – N9463020