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Introduction

This is the portfolio of Studio 11 from Monday 9am – 11am P413 class of IGB 100. Our studio consists of:
Joel Aldridge: n9472827
Paul Dalgety: n9670114
Two Nguyen: n9463763 – dropped out

This journal is sorted into catergories “Assessment” where final work for grading can be found and “Studio Work” where any other important information not assessed will be posted if needed. The authors section of the Journal also allows you to navigate based on posts made by particular people while the tags section segments posts based on the weeks content they cover.

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Cycle 3 Activity 5 – Interactivity and Choice

A diagram of the choices available to the player branching down from winning the game to smaller decisions is attached here:

For the action of killing the enemy:

Choices available:

Not many choices available – timing when to attack There are only a few choices available to defeat an enemy as combat in our game was designated as an extra feature not the focus of the game. The only real choice available is when the player chooses to engage the enemy.

How the UI conveys these choices:

The enemy moves in a specific pattern. The player can notice this pattern and choose to attack when the enemy is moving away from the player or attack quickly to keep moving

Actions available:

Due to the nature of a side scrolling game the only action available when fighting an enemy is to attack.

The game worlds response to the player’s choice:

The game world responds to the player’s decisions through the enemy who will react to the player’s choice.

Feedback to the player

When the player is successful the enemy is defeated and changes visually to reflect that.

A storyboard detailing this decision is attached here:

For the action of moving past a platform:

Choices available:

As the game is a side scroller the choices available to navigate past a platform are to move or to wait.

How the UI conveys these choices:

These choices are conveyed through the UI by design of the platforms themselves. Moving platforms will naturally suggest the player jump while long flat platforms imply moving forward. Other visual and audio cues denote when an obstacle will pass to suggest the player wait.

Actions available:

The player has the ability to move left, right, jump or take no action based on their choice.

The game worlds response to the player’s choice:

For the platforms the game world does not respond to the player. This was deliberately chosen so as to encourage the player to recognise patterns and timing to naturally improve their ability to pass platforms as the game goes on and more platforms are created.

Feedback to the player

For the task of moving past a platform feedback to the player is instantaneous as the camera and the player avatar move along the platform and eventually when the challenge of passing the platform is completed the platform disappears from view.

Cycle 3 Activity 7 – Joel Aldridge Playtests

The method of playtesting selected for this task was based on observation with the testers asked to verbally communicate any good or bad aspects they came across while playing. 3 tests were conducted starting with a colleague to fix any problems from a game design perspective then an experienced player to improve gameplay before testing the game with someone close to the prescribed target audience to find any target audience specific improvements.

The playtests were conducted with a clear goal of understanding faults within objectives and goals, visual design and player controls and interactions.

After each testing sessions notes were made on improvements that could be implemented based on the testers performance and comments.

The following improvements were made based on playtest sessions:

  1. Added a green cloud to the top and bottom boundaries of the game to simulate a gas cloud and give a visual warning and reason when the player dies from touching either boundary. Removed option to restart the current level as this could allow players to die intentionally until the random level generation produced a level they could easily complete without any challenge. The random platforms order was adjusted so more challenging combinations of platform orders were less frequent.
  2. Menu was simplified to only explain the core gameplay elements. The random platforms were again adjusted. The number of levels within the game was reduced from 5 to 3. A new mortar platform was added to increase variability of every play session.
  3. Random platform generation was again altered this time every platform was adjusted for the possibility of it being placed next to every other type of platform to remove all unwinnable scenarios.

Links to the notes produced from each playtest are found below.

Playtest 1 – Colleague

Playtest 2 – Experienced Player

Playtest 3 – Target audience member

Cycle 3 – Joel Aldridge Reflection

Approach to learning new things:

As I am studying a dual degree with a mathematics component my approach to learning new things did not change much throughout the 3 game design tasks. When presented with a mathematical problem the first step is to identify what needs to be done and then if it is not clear how to do it either attempt a way that could be correct or search available resources (online or textbook) for an example detailing a possible approach. This method of combing intuitive attempts with internet research has worked well for me across a variety of maths and gaming units and this unit was no exception.

Non-Technical skills:

In this unit I have seen major developments in my ability to take a step back from tasks. With creative tasks I often feel an overwhelming desire to create the exact product that I personally would enjoy. In this unit I made steps to improve on this as working in a team and working with specific constraints meant that I was forced to face my desire for control and put it aside for the benefit of the final product.

Strategies for group and individual work:

Our strategies for group work within this unit I feel worked well. We would all show up to the workshop and lay down the design and theory choices we ran into over the week. Together we would then come to a consensus on what would work and what would not.  My strategies for individual work however were not as well refined this semester. I often found myself overestimating my abilities to complete assignments in both this and other units and would leave assignments until late as I felt they would be easy so I focused on other tasks. The final game for this semester is a prime example of this problem as I focused on other assignments and did not start designing specific elements of the game until a few weeks before release. This impacted the quality of the game and the visual aspects. In future units I will endeavour to weight tasks appropriately to allow for more time to polish the final products.

Ethical considerations:

When working within a group with a shared design task it is important to take into account several considerations. All members must participate even when they are not skilled at the current task as their point of view may provoke an invaluable discussion leading to a breakthrough. I often had to force myself to provide input in the visual design tasks for all the games designed in this unit because as a programmer I did not feel I had much to say on the topic, visuals have been my consistent weakness throughout this unit and I will strive to work on them in future design units. Our group struggled with respect to setting specific tasks between group members. As our group member studying an animation major dropped out early in the second game we found problems sourcing and applying models and animations, in the first 2 games I worked and supplied my specific tasks of coding complex aspects however for the final game I did not organise my time well and thus failed to be of much use to the group with respects to coding. Paul on the other hand consistently rose to his specific tasks with respect to design. In our group we put in place and stuck with a policy of always being honest with each other regardless of what we discussed. This is important in group work as not being honest can quickly grow and jeopardise the final product as members has different understandings of what has been done and how.

Cycle 3 Activity 1 – Player Experience Goals

Target Audience: Sally

Age: 21

Gaming Background:

First game: Warcraft 3

Current favourite game: SIMS 4

Likes PlayerUnkown’s Battlegrounds

Mobile games: Two Dots, 1010!, Pocket planes

Does admit to playing Kim Kardashian game

Gameplay experience:

Has been playing games since she was 10

Plays approximately 1 hour per day

We choose to develop a game for the hypothetical character of Sally as from the 4 available personas as had an enjoyment of a broad style of games and was a good medium between pro and casual gamer allowing for us to implement more challenging gameplay mechanics and themes without having to go as detailed if creating for a hardcore gamer who spends several hours at a time.

Big theme / Idea

For the side scroller game we chose the big themes of heroism and friendship

3 initial player experience goals

Players will experience a sense of Sadness designed to bring about deeper thought on the big theme – This goal was suggested as it uses a small game to impart a larger meaning acting as an reflection to the Kim Kardashian mobile game.

Players will experience a sense of excitement as the overcome obstacles within the game to feel more fulfilled when the reach their goal –This goal was suggested as it creates a world for the player where you slowly build upon basic skills to perform complex actions much like world building in the sims series.

Players will experience a sense of dread from analysing the game world and its suggestions of the challenges to come – This goal was suggested as ties to the target audiences enjoyment of world of warcraft. The idea is to use visual and audio clues to prepare the player for the challange ahead much like the design of areas before a raid in World of Warcraft hinting at the style of gameplay and challenge to come.

2 game ideas – how they fit the big idea

A good / evil style game where the player switches between a dark and light world to save a friend from evil – The game would be about self-sacrifice / going through evil world to save friend. This has a thematic connection to players unknown battleground where you can fight for yourself and a people you are working with.

A soldier collecting his fallen friends bodies during war. The game is about about honouring friends memory. As the target audience is 21 years old friendships will be changing as people drift apart so the theme of staying with your friends even at difficult times will be relevant.

Final PX goal for game

Players will experience a sense of Sadness designed to bring about deeper thought on the big theme. This PX goal focuses on emotional, physical and cognitive types.

Emotional – creating a feeling of sadness for the player character who risks his life to honour his friends

Physical – avoiding environmental hazards and defeating enemies

Cognitive – Interpreting visual and audio cues to prepare for the next section accordingly

For the final 2 candidates for our game idea this PX goal creates a bridge between the core gameplay (changing between good and evil or collecting fallen friends) and the theme of friendship and heroism.

 

Cycle 3 Activity 3 – Player Stories

(Note: This activity was set to be written by Two Nguyen however he has dropped out of this unit. As player stories are referenced in later tasks the decision was made to include the activity as worked on in the relevant workshop)

The player attempts to bring home their fallen friends after a war. This is achieved by avoiding / defeating various obstacles. The challenge in this game stems from the various environmental obstacles and the emotional weight of a survivor honouring his dead friends. The setting for the game will be a mostly abandoned war zone.

Player Stories:

  1. Playing a soldier, the player will defeat enemy combatants through melee combat to progress through the level
  2. As a friend, the player will traverse the hostile environment to find their friends.
  3. As a friend, the player will collect the bodies of their fallen friends to honour their sacrifice during the war
  4. The player will jump over obstacles to reach the end of the level without dying
  5. The player will move with specific timing to pass moving obstacles without dying
  6. The player will adjust their movements with the type of platform they are on to work against the platforms movement
  7. The player will plan their movements based on visual and audio cues to be prepared for the type of challenge ahead
  8. The player will increase their focus on the game as each level progresses in difficulty
  9. The player will feel for their character as they fight for their friends
  10. As a soldier, the player time their engagements with the enemy to take as little damage as possible

3 most relevant to the target audience:

3: The theme of friendship is relevant to the target audience as in a persons early 20’s friendships are changed dramatically as friends move and pursue different goals. The idea of honouring friends who have been lost is therefore something the target audience should have some level of emotional connection with.

1: As the target audience is said to have enjoyed World of Warcraft and Players Unknown Battlegrounds the idea of a melee combat game should feel familiar and enticing to the target audience

7: The target audiences enjoyment of Players Unknown Battlegrounds suggests an enjoyment of studying the game world for clues what style of game play proceed with making it an element worth incorporating into our game.

Cycle 3 Activity 7: Playtest Report – Paul Dalgety

My form of play test analysis was observing the testers playing for all 3 of them, asking them to verbally make note of things they find interesting or odd and then for the 2 colleague/experienced testers I did a post play interview. I thought using the person who was a bit less experienced wouldn’t have a very impactful result with an interview post play so decided to leave it out. The focus goals of the sessions were:

  • Player interaction with controls.
  • Visually appealing level design.
  • Are objectives clear.

In the second lot of testing on the less experienced tester the goals were:

  • Game difficulty
  • Objectives are clear.
  • Tester understands the setting for the game.

After observing the players navigate through the game I made note of some of the changes I thought may need to be made for a more successful game.

Improvements made based on play test sessions:

  1. The jumping was a bit precarious in some areas so I need to move around the level to make sure the jumps could be more easily made as players were more often unsuccessful in making the jumps.
  2. Jumping height was changed a few times because of the changes in the level design as well.
  3. The first level was changed to a bit more of a tutorial level so that the players can understand more clearly the objectives of the game.

Below is a link to the play test session documents.

Play test 1 – Colleague

Play test 2 – Experienced player

Play test 3 – Less experienced player

Cycle 3, Activity 4: Mechanics, Objects and Rules – Paul Dalgety

As this is a 2d sidescroller the possible interaction with the world is simpler than that of an rpg and so the object list is smaller than that of the aforementioned genre. The table shows the relationships between objects, how the interact and the purpose of them being in the game. The rules associated with the objects justify and links they have to other objects through their attributes and purpose.

Object Name Object Purpose Object Attributes Object Relationship Rules/Events
Avatar Player controlled object, allowing interaction with the world through simple controls. Character is depicted as a young warrior from the world war eras. He has a knife which he uses to attack the soldiers guarding the bodies of the avatars fallen comrades left over from the war.

 

The avatar uses his basic attack and jumps to maneuver through the level.

 

The player uses the avatar to interact with the world.

 

The player’s avatar can take damage from, deal damage, collect items by moving over them and jumping on the platforms.

The avatar is affected by gravity, and the constraints on the world laid out in the boundary rules of the game.

 

The avatar is restricted to the bounds of that area.

Enemy soldier Purpose of this object is to try and prevent the avatar from reaching the end goal of the level by attacking the player when they player enters the constraints of the patrol points assigned to the enemy.

 

The enemy will have a ranged attack and a melee attack based on the distance away from the target.

 

2 points are assigned to the enemy soldier, the enemy will constantly move between these two points.

 

The enemy soldier patrols an area between two points, if the player enters the area the soldier will move closer while shooting until they get into melee range. The enemy is restricted by the bounds selected as patrol points. If the avatar is not in the patrol point area then the enemy soldier will continue to move between the points.

 

It is an exit requirement for all enemies to be defeated before the player can finish the level.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fallen Comrade Collectable There are bodies of the avatars fallen comrades placed on the ground throughout the level.

 

 

 

The body is a skeleton laying flat on the ground. The object can be collected by the avatar. The collection of the fallen comrade is a requirement for the level to be completed.

 

When the avatar walks over the collectable it disappears and goes into the avatars inventory.

 

When all bodies have been collected the player will see a dagger on icon in the bottom left hand corner of the screen signifying that all bodies are collected and can now finish the level.

 

Platforms Horizontal

 

The player is required to navigate of the platforms, the end of the level will be behind the need to get over the platforms.

 

These platforms will move left to right.

 

The player jumps onto these platforms to navigate through the level. These platforms do not act like the vertical platforms. The avatar jumps onto the platform but does not move with the platform. The player must move left and right respectively to avoid falling off the platform while it is moving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Platforms Vertical The player is required to navigate of the platforms, the end of the level will be behind the need to get over the platforms.

 

These platforms will move up and down. The player jumps onto these platforms to navigate through the level. The avatar jumps on these platforms and times the jump to either the next platform or ground.

 

The platforms move at different speeds and are not affected by gravity.