Welcome aboard to my Fall '10 blog for FSU's DIG3725: Game Design course. Feel free to browse what I find along the
way and please leave comments!

Critques, suggestions, and questions are always appricated!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Personal Reference Note

--- Note: This is just a personal list of reference ideas I've found various places, none belong to me. All rights go to their respective owners. ---
Video Clips:
Kinetic Typography

What Program to Use

Raising Your Profile as an Artist
Introduction to Fluid Simulation
Tangled Clip Progression Album
Make Your Own Magazine
Lightwave Tutorials
Working with the Video Sequence Editor
Matte Painting Example

Flame Painting
Autodesk Maya 2011 -- Free Legal Student Edition 3 Year Licence by Autodesk
Blender Download
25 Free 3D Modeling Apps Your Shouldn't Miss

Just for Fun:
Funny Animal Clip
"Every" Anime Opening Ever Made
Cartooning Socioeconomic Problems

Search Keywords:

ASCII Art-----Animation-----Computer Animation-----CG tutorials-----Stop Motion Animation-----Claymation-----2d Animation-----Traditional Animation

Note: CG is an abbreviation for Computer Graphics.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Homework 20: Balancing, Story, & Indirect Control ---> The End is just the Beginning

Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see." - C.S. Lewis

- Q1:
What is the relationship between the main character and the goal.
~ A1: The main character of our game is Ro, an odd, otherworldly being captured by lab scientists for experimentation. His main goal is to escape the laboratory he was captured into by whatever means necessary. The original idea for our game was that Ro would quest thru different levels in a side-scrolling platform game to discover objects that would lead to his freedom while maintaining his heal via energy bottles which sustain him from becoming overwhelmed by delusions in his misguided states. Another idea we had was for the character to find his Mom at the end of the game but we decided coming across a final boss, the leader of the laboratory organization would be more interesting.

In our game's current state, the main goal is to clear as many levels as possible utilizing Ro's various forms to escape towards the end goal, which would be his home planet or wherever he was native to escape a life of imprisonment. We had to simplify the game greatly due to time constraints.

- Q2: What obstacles must the character overcome to reach the goal.
~ A2: Our game involves defeating, avoiding, and tactically outsmarting enemies despite an overall weaker character in comparison to overall enemy strength. The player will need to travel through different laboratory confines in order to get to the final destination and escape the lab. In our current gameplay, the user just plays to defeat enemies and endure further into the game with increasing enemy barrages.

- Q3: Do the obstacles increase in difficulty (if more than once)
~ A3: Yes, the obstacles of Ro, the lab scientists you fight to escape increase in difficulty as the player progresses thru the stages. The further in the game, the greater the skill of the enemies and the greater skill is needed to progress further in the game.

- Q4: Does the protagonist transform in some way throughout the game? If so, how?
~ A4: Our protagonist transforms into three states throughout the game, a light, normal, and heavy form. Each form has different abilities and personalities. Since our main character is known from a history of disease and faces conflict with delusions, his other states are an embodiment of those illusions. In reality, Ro has only one form, his normal state but is separated into different states of mind and in our game, these states of mind also transform him into different states of being, his light and heavy forms.

In the current state of our game, the player can choose when to transform Ro into the three states but originally we were planning on him collecting items to retain the states and from that we could have had him only be able to transform when a meter for each form other than his normal state was filled as a bonus ability instead of a standard ability for the player.

The normal state has relatively balanced stats for combat, the light form is more evasive, and the heavy form has the greatest defense but overall, all forms are on average weaker than the opponents causing the player to think carefully what form to defeat each enemy.

- Q5: How is the game world simpler than the real world?
~ A5: Our game's world is greatly simplified from the real world because we assume there are no aliens, or otherworldly beings, and if there were, their capture would not be done by lab scientists.

We would probably assume that we cannot judge an "alien's" intentions and therefore must take action against them to protect ourselves so we might sent in a special CIA/FBI team to investigate their presence. Rarely do we ever deal with things so directly when they are unfamiliar to us. For example, for many years we have thought other forms of life may exist, how do we search for an answer right now? Technology mostly, not barrages of lab scientists bent on toppling every living thing for "knowledge." Looks can be deceiving though, sometimes the most detailed answer is found in the simplest of places and forms and those simple forms can create a great game.

- Q6: Does the player ever get transcendent power? How could that be achieved without removing challenge from the game?
~ A6: No, the player can only switch between forms. They cannot take the form of an all controlling being without manipulating the game for purposes other than it was intended. The player could given such powers with some game manipulations to cause infinite health, infinite strength in all areas, or if the enemies we treated as punching bags, where any damage would destroy them while they could be rendered to have no offensive or defensive abilities.

- Q7: What is the weirdest element in your game/story? (as opposed to surprises)
~ A7: The weirdest element of Team 1's game is the use of a character who is delusional and those delusions manifest into three different states of being. The concept of a character's mental conditions transforming their physical state really has not been done in virtually any game I can think of. There have been many transformation games but almost all involve the use of power-ups or temporary transformations from a magic of some kind. I think this idea is very original and could be taken a long way, especially with cut scenes(short breakaway videos which take the player to a scene furthering the storyline of the game) to immerse the player in the story further so they understand the character they are playing as and their true goal in the game.

- Q8: If your game does not have a story, would it be better served with one?
~ A8: Our game does have a story but it could be better defined. Our player's history causes a player to be more immersed in the game by better understanding the character's situation and point of view.

- Q9: If your game has a story, would it be better serve without one?
~ A9: I think our game would be deteriorated without the storyline, true it would appeal just from raw "button mashing" fun but without the story, the player would become lost why they are playing the game at all other than to beat each level.

- Q10: What forms of control on the player does your game exert (direct or indirect).
~ A10: We have direct control over the character making contact with the lab scientists because both will come towards each other even if the player does nothing. Indirectly the player is controlled to used all three forms of the character to get through levels more quickly and to find the final escape battle.

- Q11: Address control (in your game) through: Goals, Interface, Visual Design, Characters, Music, and Collusion.
~ A11:

Goals: The only controls our game offers from goals is the approaching and eventual defeat or battle with enemies.
Interface: Our game interface causes the player to choose from a variety of options (Play, Help, etc) which manipulates the player to do only selected actions available.
Visual Design: Our game's 2d background encourages the player to keep traveling forward, the direction of the final goal.
Characters: The characters lead the player to be controlled by their surroundings. Since the player is set in the place of an escaping delusional being, they are somewhat of the underdog of the story by default.
Music: Currently our game does not have any music. If our game had music it would be somewhat mysterious and paced according to how the character is supposed to move. For example, when there are large amounts of enemies programmed, the music would be faster to encourage the player to move more quickly instead of lingering behind and becoming defeated causing a game over.
Collusion: Ro's sense of collusion is that indirectly the player fights enemies for an immediate goal, to pass further in the game while also learning more about Ro's various states which in the end could have the goal of combining to one superpower, normal state cured of delusions which involves putting together the pieces of Ro's conscious by better understanding the aspects of his delusional light and heavy forms.

- Q12: Suggest a change to your game that would involve each of the 6 elements above (of course, you will not implement these).
~ A12:

Goals: If our game had more defined goals it would help balance our game's interest curve. We could do this by creating different levels each with different goals, the player would have to defeat enemies in every level but the tactics to defeat them would change every time. With each conquered level, Ro could gain a piece to his normal self, weakening the two delusion formed counterparts.
Interface: The interface could be more interactive. We could just have three buttons on the main menu, Play, Help, and Quit and the help menu would be very basic. Meanwhile we could mark the in game elements and the user could mouse over them from more information while playing so no pop-up menu would be necessary.
Visual Design: Short 10-15 second cut scenes could immerse the player in our game more, the could happen before each level start to give players a vague idea of what they are supposed to do.
Characters: The characters and enemies of our game could be controlled further by random transformations from laboratory chemical mixture explosions. These transformations could be for better or worse on both sides.
Music: A soft mysterious song in the introduction could create interest in our game. A different sound could be played when the player moused over each menu option. In gameplay, the music would vary by level to give the user a more emotive feel that they are getting further in the game, with patterns of faster and slower rhythms.
Collusion: Another way to guide the player thru the game in various ways would be to show small but distinct paths to follow thru each level in the textured surroundings. These paths could also be manipulated to guide the player in the wrong direction so the player would have to be wary of trusting them completely.

Image Copyright Note: The image above was from one of the projects I did in Drawing II. ; )

Monday, November 22, 2010

Homework 19: The Balancing Act

- Q1: What elements of balance are you using in your game? How is skill balanced against knowledge/thinking?
~ A1: The most important elements of balance in our game are the ability to switch between characters, having various enemies as challengers, and simple but interesting contexts to play in. Skill is balanced against knowledge by the ability to clear levels more quickly as time passes.

- Q2: Do you have an economy. Please explain? How is it balanced?
~ A2: No, Ro does not involve an economy. It was too complex to add given the time frame. It doesn't have a sense of balance because we do not have one.

- Q3: How do you control boredom versus frustration curve?
~ A3: Players will feel accomplish when getting further in our game with the difficulty of enemies and the challenge of using different skills from Ro's forms.

- Q4: Are there quantitative elements in the game (scores, hits, health, et.) How are they monitored?
~ A4: We are planning on having a scoring system where player receives points for defeating enemies, the points are gained exponentially throughout the game as well as a life system where the player will have to restart after three lives. Players lose a life when a health meter goes to zero. The health meter is affected by enemy attacks where certain attacks cause more or less damage in different forms.

- Q5: What kinds of reward system or punishment are included in the game?
~ Q5: Players are rewarded for understanding both Ro's forms and the enemies abilities and punished for the lack of that knowledge with damage to their health.

- Q6: How simple or complex is your game? Explain.
~ Q6: Our game is very simple but it should still interest players on a basic level because of the image complexity.

- Q7: How long would you expect your game to last assuming all levels were constructed. Explain why this is good.
- Q8: I would guess our game would run about 5 minutes for what we have right now, about 30-45 minutes for all completed levels with an average skill level.

- Q8: Consider two objects (not the main characters) in your game, and enumerate their purposes (the more the better). Establish an elegance rating
~ A8: One item we planned on having in the game was an energy bottle for the character to collect. Players would receive a health bonus for collecting them and they would help maintain the character's current state.

Another item we planned on are keys of some kind to open an upcoming level.

Elegance Rating:

- elements: 1-2 player characters with 2-3 forms (we are planning on one character with 2-3 forms), 3d play area, 2d backgrounds, intro screen, simple but multiple attacks with animations.
- purpose:

~player: allows the user control of the game, character choice
~ play area: field to interact with
~ 2d background: simplifies 3d design and increases gameplay speed
~ intro screen: introduces the player to our game world, offers them the rules of the game.
~ attacks: a form of control and choice for the player
~ animations: entertainment value
- rating: 6

- Q9: Go through the various section in Chapter 11, and address any aspect of balance contained in your game, and not included in the previous questions.
~ A9: Another aspect of balance is our game's idea imagination. Eventually in a full version our game, I would like to have the background be animated with bubbling concoctions from a secret laboratory which randomly affect gameplay. For example, the potions could explode to give bonuses or penalties to either side to make the game more interesting. The detail would be limited to the amount needed for the player's imagination to take over.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Team 1 -- Final Poster!

Preview Thumbnail:
This one is just for viewing, the high quality for printing is below. =D

^ Files hosted by Mediafire

Update -- Backgrounds

Hi guys I've been working on some things for our team's game and here are some works in progress I have right now.

Our main background with different effects applied

Note: even though these might look 3d, they are 2d images made with Photoshop CS5.

This is just something random I was doing that we might want to use for the title screen background.

Note 2: All of these images were created 100% by myself using standard tools of Photoshop CS5, all textures were edited and obtained by myself and not taken from third parties.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Homework 18: Modifiers!

What does blender have to offer that is premade for scripts and modifiers? What exactly is a modifier or script?

A script is a text file containing code with a certain intended purpose in mind, for example, if you want to duplicate an object 1000 times with one click, a script could do that with the right code to create that action. In Blender, scripts are written in Python, a scripting language.

A modifier? They are built in options in the Blender program which can speed up the "Blending" process. One use of Blender's many modifiers can be seen below.

Did someone say conveyor belt?!

What if you wanted to create a conveyor belt for whatever reason. How would you traditionally do it? Take the default cube, duplicate it tons of times and work from that maybe. Here's a faster way to get the job done with modifiers!

Duplicating Objects Modifier

The first trick with modifiers that avoids Shift & d (duplicate) is to do the following(seen in the first image on the left):

1.) With the default screen, divide the main portion of the screen into three windows, the 3d View(the grid), the Buttons Window(two rectangles), and the IPO Editor Curve(the graph) by right clicking the edge between the main window and the subwindow and "Split Area", do this twice. Your view should look similar to mine in the screenshot.

2.) Using the Buttons Window(in the left screenshot, it is the top right window), click in the window and press Control & up arrow (maximizes the view, control & down arrow restores the view).

3.) Go to the Editing Panel(F9) >> Modifiers >> Add Modifier >> Array >> Count: 12 (on the default cube creates 12 cubes at once)

4.) The result should look the like screen shot on the right.

From here you can continue to model the conveyor belt design and add motion with the help of modifiers as necessary.

*Note: This post followed this tutorial, check it out for more info --> Conveyor belt with Blender's modifiers Tutorial.

Unfortunately it does not have sound and does not show hot keys so it is a little hard to follow, for that reason I would suggest having an intermediate knowledge of blender to understand this tutorial fully.