Weekly Reflection 014

Again, the semester comes down to the wire.  Again, somehow, all of my work is finished and ready to present.  Only this time, a whole day ahead of schedule.

I'm anxious to see everyone's work this semester.  How it's changed, how everyone has grown as an artist and maker.  I know I'm getting better at gauging the scope of my projects, whittling them down to a manageable size and concentrating on the important bits.

I've been thinking back to all of the design choices I've made going into this project, some conscious, some due to tech restraints, and others unconscious.  I've been thinking a lot about the unconscious decisions.  I chose to give Barbara white hair.  My own grandma has a ball of white hair as long as I can remember.  I'm fairly certain Barbara's hair is white because the best grandmas have white hair.

Barbara's top is yellow to contrast with the gray of the concrete.  She pops, especially among her purple pants.  I played with the idea of fading her out as the game went on, but as I thought about dementia and my experience with it, I didn't want to squash out all hope and color.

A lot of the distractions and annoyances are through sound.  The ambiance of the parking lot is loud, the phone constantly rings and vibrates, the cart is squeaky, and car horns are honking at you.  As the designer, I know what to expect and I still find it frustrating in a good way when I hear the various sounds being thrown at me.

A few other choices were the speed Barbara moves (deliberately slow), cars changing color and spaces, wide camera, top down view, soft painterly sprites, and the player choosing the dialogue for the NPCs instead of Barbara.

I'll upload the game soon for Mac and PC.  It's simple and at times a little annoying to play.  Hopefully, the annoyingness of my games will go away in time.

Cheers everyone for a great semester.


Weekly Reflection 013

The semester is winding down and with that comes a new sense of urgency, I'm sure for everyone at the university, not just the animation students.  I've always enjoyed the last week and a half or so of a project.  On smaller jobs, the project really starts to come together and looks like an actual piece of work instead of an experiment.

In terms of my game, most of the animations are in along with player interactions with NPC's, and the UI system.  There are a few more art assets that need to be dropped in but I'll handle those last.  I want to make sure every other piece of the game is working smoothly before I pull the final facelift.

There is still one transition I need to rethink this week, the final stretch between the main game and the end game scene.  Right now it operates as a jump cut but I need to think about a way to smooth the transition between them.  I have a couple ideas and I'll experiment with them this week.

I've had a few last minute ideas as well.  Last week while working in ACCAD an extremely annoying car alarm sounded for about two hours.  I thought adding in a couple of alarms when you touch the wrong car could also be a good way to add confusion and annoyance.  Tomorrow I'll finish adding in the dialogue and continue with the inventory.  It's really close and I'm excited to see it finished.

Cheers all,


Weekly Reflection 012

A lot of this past week was spent prepping my Game Design II game for the ACCAD Open House.  My goal was to have it playable for up to four players, with a minimal UI that displays pertinent info to the user.  It was interesting to see how people interacted with the characters and environment.  In a lot of ways, people started to develop their own strategies, way more intricate than I ever intended.  For example, people began to use the force from the grenade to project their character to the other side of the screen or to a high area.  This tactic works well if the player has a lot of health left and the opponent doesn't.  

It was extremely refreshing to see people interact with my work and come away with minimal gripes or comments.  A lot of the players simply concentrated on the game and had fun with their friends, which was my goal for the game.  I wanted to create a simple, fast-paced, action platformer that pitted friends against friends.  One that required all the players to physically be in the same room.  I wanted to create a game that relies a little on skill, but a lot on chaos and luck to create real world emotions from the players.

There are a few bugs and kinks I need to fix.  As people played I saw a couple of small glitches that should be easy to fix.  The jump detection doesn't work if the player is standing on top of another player, it's funny but it'd be nice to jump off of your teammates' head.  I also received some really good input.  Previously, I purposely put in no way to reload a weapon.  As soon as all your bullets were shot, that's it.  The player is forced to go into melee mode.  However, after watching my game, I think I'm going to keep all the bullets permanent.  Once they reach zero velocity, players can pick them up and reuse them.  

Lots of good ideas to go on.  The next couple of weeks will be a little busy but I'm looking forward to the challenge.